Alan Parker-Urban Warrior

Simon Munnery: Standing Still



The Stand, Edinburgh

Simon Munnery has been performing stand-up for something like thirty years and is cited by many as a comic genius – but it’s clear from the moment that he stumbles onto the iconic stage of The Stand Comedy Club, that Standing Still isn’t up there with his best work.

He’s wearing a jacket adorned with empty Strongbow cider cans and Golden Virginia tobacco pouches, and he sports a weird headpiece with a revolving appendage sticking out of it. He also has a codpiece made from a pig’s head (in reference to David Cameron’s alleged exploits). He knocks a whole collection of ramshackle props flying whilst bellowing near-incomprehensible dialogue into an echo-enhanced microphone. A packed audience looks on in bemused silence.

Once through this opening routine, he treats us to a selection of bits and pieces salvaged from his illustrious past (even including a few lines as Alan Parker; Urban Warrior, dating from the early 90s). Occasionally, he holds up a selection of tattered illustrations and photographs for our consideration and, at one point, he even sings a Billy Bragg song. It all feels curiously cobbled-together, as though he hasn’t really found the time to write much new material. While the bumbling chaos is classic Munnery, this just isn’t as honed as it might have been.

This is a shame because, from time to time, he does come up with some genuinely funny stuff (the extended conversation between a ski-obsessed couple, for example), giving us a glimpse of what he’s actually capable of.

3 stars

Philip Caveney