While the Edinburgh Fringe is in full swing for many already, comedian Edy Hurst did a final preview of his debut full-length in Liverpool last week, before heading up to Scotland a little later in the festival run.
Theme Show is inspired by Hurst’s love of theme parks – a former Disney employee to boot, from an early age he was captivated by the magic of such mega entertainment complexes – and is a friendly, interactive piece which sees our host try to build his own by the end of the hour.
Appointing audience members with roles to help and hinder him along the way, Hurst goes up against a planning committee, builds a roller coaster, and attempts to hide from the literal Fun Police.
Using a combination of anecdotal standup, sketch, audience participation, multimedia (projecting film to keep things ticking along during costume changes), and an array of delightful, low budget props and special effects, Hurst offers a quite unique take on a show with the sort of daft energy that you might usually expect to be delivered by a comedy group, and not one man alone. Hurst’s quest to find the right mascot for his park has an hilarious reveal that is rightfully framed as the hour’s highlight.
To give away too much would be to ruin the charming surprises in store. It might almost be impossible not to just go with the flow of Theme Show. Hurst’s good-natured hosting puts the audience at ease, which is a good thing considering how much the show depends on them getting involved. It’s a sweetly ambitious piece, bursting with quirky, refreshing ideas that are all the funnier for the homemade style of their execution. There’s no cynicism, as he really has a genuine passion for DisneyWorld and the like. And it’s inclusive – not only in bringing an audience of strangers together in a rather feelgood group, but it is family friendly (with a pre-lunchtime slot booked in at the Fringe). And if any of that sounds like it might grab you, then it almost certainly will. It’s just that kind of show.