Jody Kamali - Spectacular!

Wed 12th – Mon 31st August 2015

reviews

Tess Davidson

at 19:22 on 27th Aug 2015

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Jody Kamali’s one man circus performance show, Spectacular!, was a riotous affair. From the very beginning, his hilariously appalling European accent set the tone for what was a chaotic and exciting performance that left the audience in stitches.

His onstage persona of Fernando introduced us to a range of different characters, from the man of mystery dressed all in black, who did an interpretive dance with Sainsbury’s shopping bags, to a vampire whose victims included unfortunate members of the audience. His natural wit ensured quick-fire responses to unforeseen situations, which only reinforced his humour further and made him more endearing to the audience.

One of the best parts of this show was the level of audience interaction. In one scene, he had one member pretend to be a shark, wearing a shark hat and carrying two shark toys, he was chased around the room, lying across chairs and screaming at the top of this voice. In another, he had one individual be the mother of the bride for an ironing board. It was zany genius.

His interaction stretched not only to the audience but the technical team as well so that if anything didn’t go quite according to plan, instead of it demoralising him for the rest of the act, he drew our attention directly to it and made it into another joke. Kamali’s comic instinct was gold in itself.

The use of music and props was also a strength of his performance, a memory scene and detailed epic about love using a wide range of inanimate objects in an innovative and imaginative manner.

Kamali is a brilliant storyteller, his ability to weave words with physical comedy appealing to both adults and children. I watched the audience as they grew less and less self-conscious, becoming more like children, their faces enraptured; he had us all, myself included, eating out of his hand.

Some of the sketches were, to directly quote his observant self, rather “prolonged” but his audacity to confront this fact on stage made me forgive him instantly for wanting to wave a scarf around to dramatic music for a minute too long. Kamali was spontaneous and extravagant, embracing every twist and unforeseen turn.

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Stasia Carver

at 21:43 on 27th Aug 2015

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In this one-man parody, Jody Kamali introduces us to the dazzlingly dysfunctional Gorbachev Circus of Wonder. Expect stuffed animals, severed limbs and a plethora of plastic bags. Achingly funny, Spectacular! is physical and character comedy at its finest.

Kamali has been performing at the Fringe for years, and it shows. He clearly has a wealth of comic material, but avoids cramming too much into one show: unlike all too many character comedies, this isn’t just a display of how many accents the comedian can do. Instead, ‘Ceremonies of master’ Fernando is our host throughout the evening, discovering that the other acts scheduled to perform are being killed off one by one.

It’s all incredibly silly, but extremely witty nonetheless; even the simplest of routines – an interpretative dance with a Sainsbury’s bag; a vampire mumbling incoherently through his false teeth as he prepares to slay a member of the audience – is so hilariously performed that it’s impossible to keep a straight face for any length of time. I’m not sure that many comedians could pull off an act entitled ‘I love, therefore I regret’, consisting of Kamali acting out an entire relationship through mime, his romantic interest an ironing board – the child-birth scene alone makes this show a must-see.

Radiating charisma, Kamali has an easy and immediate rapport with his audience, members of whom are frequently summoned (or chased) onstage to help act out a particular scene. In this gleefully riotous atmosphere, none of them need much encouragement, with a few performances to rival the comedian’s own; it’s clear that no two shows are ever quite the same.

Occasionally, one can feel a scene is dragging a little, but Kamali anticipates and disarms any such criticisms in hilarious fashion, punctuating sketches with excerpts from a mock-review criticising his performance. There are games within games here; parodies within parodies. It all feels wonderfully meta.

On paper, this isn’t the most sophisticated humour, but behind the apparent chaos of this show is a seriously sharp comedian, all the more delightful for his utter lack of pretentiousness. Jody Kamali is a real gem; I’m only sorry I didn’t discover him earlier. Easily the most fun I had at the Fringe.

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