Known most prominently as one seventh of acclaimed improv comedy septet, Austentatious, Graham Dickson is making his solo stand-up debut in new show Graham Dickson is The Narcissist. Exploring the works of fake author Grigoriy Alexeivich Dhukov, Dickson firmly plants himself in the realms of absurdist character comedy with this inspired and explosive debut.
“hilarious, clever and inspired”
With a multi-layered and supremely self-aware narrative, Dickson’s debut takes place in the rehearsal for his solo performance of Dhukov’s work The Narcissist. With recurring arguments between himself and Hamish, the booming voice of the director, Graham Dickson is The Narcissist soon becomes a sort of solo sketch show with an overarching meta narrative. It’s an awfully convoluted concept for a stand-up show, but with Dickson’s swagger and energy driving the show forward, the finer details of the plot become somewhat irrelevant. You’re in safe hands here, operating at a level above-and-beyond the expected face-value comedy gig, but not demanding you understand all the intricacies to enjoy the performance.
Dickson’s style is very reminiscent of a rudimentary Monty Python with Dickson mocking egotistical, self-obsessed actors with a Cleese-esque sarcasm. A scene of a young child asking his father to check his homework, only for him to viciously throw it across the room channels a Python sketch particularly and it would have fitted into Flying Circus effortlessly. In general, it proves a successful format with each exaggerated character and ridiculous sequence consistently drawing uproarious laughs. Sharing the same director as Joseph Morpurgo’s 2017 show Hammerhead, the similarities between the two comics are apparent. Although Morpurgo’s characters have become more refined with a few years of solo shows under his belt, Dickson shows the same aptitude for character-based comedy, with the self-contained absurd themes appearing believable and hilarious for the heightened character.
For a debut solo performance, Graham Dickson is The Narcissist is an impressive production. With an engaging overarching plot and a collection of ridiculous characters, Dickson proves hilarious, clever and inspired from start to finish.
Underbelly – Cowgate, 3rd – 27th August (not 15th) 20:10
Image: Berk’s Nest in association with PBJ Management