FringeGuru.com / Review / Writing: Journalism

Mike Wozniak: Clown Shoes (****1/2)

Pleasance Courtyard (venue details)
5 – 31 Aug (not 19), 6:00pm (7:00pm)

To understand how this madman operates, I feel a description is in order. Mike Wozniak is not a showman; he does not bound onto stage to riotous applause. His casual stroll belies his twitchy energy, as he starts to talk, rather gently, about events from his life. However, as he talks, his hands start to stab the air more and more vehemently, his face starts to turn a violent shade of ruddy purple, and his voice becomes strangled and aggressive, an incredibly intense and powerful performance that has the entire audience spell-bound.

As stand-up goes, Mike Wozniak’s routine is a strange kettle of fish. His jokes are not exactly laugh-out-loud riotous, but the general madness and intensity he brings to the stage is exciting and hilarious to watch. His heady intensity and more than a little bizarre subject matter will stay with me for a very, very long time. This impossible mixture of odd, mad comedy, and forceful delivery make Mike Wozniak worthy of great attention and praise.

Beyond Wozniak’s delivery, his material in Clown Shoes is top-notch stuff, and fits very well with his performance style. Tied together loosely by anecdotes about his father, whose many antics are the source of much of the comedy, the material rolls easily along. It’s clearly an exceptionally well put together set, with jokes linking into each other seamlessly. The links are often not clear until the next section has already begun, and Wozniak’s ability to reference back to jokes already told confounds the seemingly casual nature of his story-telling. This is tight, confident stuff.

There are some excellent moments throughout, but no real comedy gems in this show, no stand-out gags. Still, the whole piece is great fun to be in, and a couple of really insanely good jokes in the midst of all of this brilliance would easily bump Mike Wozniak up into the major leagues of comedy, where he most definitely deserves to be.

This is awesomely written and delivered comedy, and Mike Wozniak deserves a lot of credit for his work. If you’re looking for the UK’s best up-and-coming comic, go no further than Mike Wozniak, and be ready to be covered with spit if you’re in the first row!

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