This is the fourth Fringe show from the solid Gordon Southern I have seen and he never disappoints – in the sense that he will always have a twee gimmick that both distracts from his show and enhances it. This year it is a collection of sound effects to be triggered, for example, when a joke goes badly or when we are learning ‘fun facts’ from the set.
Another constant with Southern is his edgy bonhomie, he’s almost coyly ingratiating but never lets us get too wrapped up in him. I’ve said coy and now I have to use the other dreaded c-word, cute, a category his anecdotes largely fall into.
Cases in point include how sharing a kitchen with fellow comedians was like post-war Berlin, but with the fridge being divided up into zones, or how his dad is made to see that having a dog might be a good thing to rid his garden of invading cats.
The heart of the show, and the most prevalent strand of the Borders theme, is his relationship with his girlfriend (now wife) from Adelaide, and how tricky it was to get her over to the UK. A flash of Southern’s double-edged quality comes into play here when he comments on her accent in a way that suggests he didn’t always enjoy it. Perhaps the intonation is a Frank Carson or Stewart Lee thing, just the way he tells them.
Southern is unexpectedly sharp in other places too with a cracking joke about vuvuzelas and the wrong-headed approach South Africa has taken to dealing with AIDS. this lightning bolt contrasts the much safer material that populates the majority of the show.