The Doug Antony All Stars first graced the Edinburgh Fringe thirty years ago, back in 1987. It may be worth noting; that’s a full decade before I was even born, so perhaps I am not the most qualified to be writing this review, but here we go anyway.
“an astute, hilarious and touching show”
Their new show Near Death Experience, seems to fit the formula of a washed-up Edinburgh star, returning to the festival to earn a bit of money based on former glories and successes. But, for Doug Antony All Stars, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The trio are as sharp and witty as any fresh-faced young comics at the festival, proving joyously controversial and edgy. The Doug Antony All Stars are the masters of self-deprecating humour, aware and proud of their short comings, describing themselves as ‘a pensioner, a cripple and a silver fox’.
In a hilarious, but brave move, a vast portion of the comedy revolves around member Tim Ferguson’s multiple sclerosis, which has left him recently wheelchair-bound. This becomes extraordinarily funny, if not a little outrageous at times, partly because it’s clear that Ferguson is onboard with the jokes. It’s incredibly admirable for Ferguson to have the willingness to laugh about such a serious condition and although it is extraordinarily entertaining, a deeply melancholic undertone hangs over the performance. It’s very rare for a musical comedy show to be so moving, but a word of advice from Ferguson at the end will stay with you long after the show reaches its touching conclusion: “Time doesn’t pass, it plummets. Three words, Britain: tick fucking tock”.
The Doug Antony All Stars have created an astute, hilarious and touching show. They may be thirty years on from their first Edinburgh performance, but their wit is showing no signs of tiring.
Pleasance Courtyard, 2nd – 27th August, 22:00
Image: Doug Antony All Stars