Review: Andrew Maxwell: Shake a Leg

An ambitious hour that successfully restores some sanity to the world

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 19 Aug 2018
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Andrew Maxwell

As our world gets ever crazier, Andrew Maxwell gets funnier still. The more our geopolitical milieu plunges into dystopia, the more penetrating his satire becomes. With this positive correlation in mind, and on the evidence of Shake a Leg, is it wrong to hope for the mayhem to continue? 

With another year having passed since Brexit et al, Maxwell has had time to pause and reflect further. His comedic knives have sharpened in this time, returning to the Fringe—his place as an established veteran secured—on scintillating form. Here he casts his eye near and far, tackling parochialism and globalism with equally righteous ire. National lunacy, it seems, comes in many shapes and sizes. 

He takes New Zealand as a case study, segueing between provincial beef on an isolated island and the more prominent conflict of Israel and Palestine. It's a show about the big and the small in the context of political fallout, and the recurring threads between it all. 

In his deftly satirical hands, just about anything can be deconstructed for laughs. He's a master of the craft, and barely a word is wasted. The "Irish" border? He has some thoughts. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists? He has some more. Maxwell's brand of disbelieving exasperation feels like the perfect tonic for a world full of increasingly unbelievable crises. Perhaps he spreads his net too wide here, but the catch he delivers is more than enough.