Ollie Horn: Pig in Japan

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Just the Tonic at The Mash House
Aug 10-11, 13-25 (15:15)

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It is impossible not to like Ollie Horn, what a cool geezer, who has just had the good life-fortune to spend a few years in the Japanese islands, a travelogue of which he has moulded into a Fringe show for 2019. This is in itself a wonderful idea, for Japan is barely reached by we British, & Ollie gives an excellent account of being there in actual person. ‘It was so clean,’ he recounts about his first arrival in 2014 on a whim, ‘that I didn’t want to be the one to fuck the place up.’ This line captures the quintessence of the show, a clever guy clearly out of his depth, to whom the twists of fate were to deal an interesting card… he was to become a TV presenter. His remit was to assist the state-funded manipulation of mainstream media to glorify the anti-degenerate, Living Japan, which had him at one point denying that the UK had kites!

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With shoulders thrusting forward like an upright werewolf,  Ollie is an elegant & energetic orator who can also keep a straight face through his funniest jokes – I noticed that, he’s got all the hallmarks of a pro. He is also a master of the Byronic digression – but for me there was just one digression too many. When he sets up the return to Britain he should have just kept going, the handbrake was on for the run up to the finale. But before then I’d had a fascinating & funny time. Ollie is definitely the real deal for those interested in Japan – there were Japanese speakers in the audience who got all the injokes & stuff – & we also learn of the concept of Ikigai (生き甲斐). This is the harmony one obtains from work & life – getting paid for something you enjoy doing. It seems that Ollie’s stint in Japan had taught him that stand-up, of all things, was his calling, & I sense today those kami who originally took him under their wings will be smiling with supreme satisfaction.

Damian Beeson Bullen

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