Sunday, 21 August 2011

FRINGE REVIEW: Pope Benedict: Bond Villain * *


The Green @ Pleasance Courtyard, 9-29 Aug, 8.45pm

Irish comedian Abie Philbin Bowman is a guy who has a lot of ideas about religion: the Catholics and Protestants, God, no God, and so on. It also seems that, unfortunately, he has more passion than jokes about it all.

Ideas, rage, religion, politics, economics, and philosophies are all interesting things to learn from and discuss, and are often great to get fired up about, and I feel that I do benefit in some ways from this hour spent believing that he genuinely wants to ‘expose the hypocrisy of religion’ and question the usefulness of ‘God’s customer support team.’ But enlightenment isn’t what we usually seek from a comedy show, is it?

Don’t get me wrong, Bowman arouses more than a few laughs from the congregation about the US Tea Party, what Obama should have been named, and yes, his wish for James Bond to come in and save the day against his obvious rival, Pope Benedict. But the humour takes a backseat to preaching of how our leaders are bastards and how God and money aren’t real and nothing has any power unless we enable it so. Interesting stuff that is deserving of humour to lighten the mood, but Bowman doesn’t deliver the doubled-over kind of kick one might have hoped for.

Alas, he leaves us with an anecdote that is so touching I can’t help but fight back a tearful emotion, and I leave a comedy show wondering what the hell just happened back there.

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