Roger Swift’s show, Punderstudy, was the first show I’ve seen in Edinburgh. Partly this was due to a happy scheduling accident, but mostly it was due to the fact that I’ve consistently heard good things about this show from other acts. During the second intermission, when comedian’s generally share tales of who has recently died on stage, this was a show that pretty much everyone had something good to say about. The room on Hanover St, wasn’t as full as I’d have liked, but with Jay Islaam, Moses Ali Khan, Luvdev Barpaiga and Jay Handley (including his infectious laugh) adding to the numbers we had more than enough people for an audience.
The show began with a great audio-visual introduction, based on a film and this really set the scene for the 45 minutes of gloriously daft entertainment that followed. Roger works best as a high energy act and he created this environment within the first couple of minutes, with a bit of clapping and a stream of puns that bad they became good. These were all delivered with the sort of panache that only a man who knows their true value could do. Tinkerbell in a blender started a one man applause break, which Swift acknowledged by breaking the 4th wall. There was a lot of asides to the audience and as ever, they massively ramped up the value of every gag. I noticed that Swift was very smooth when he dealt with the odd walkout, not letting it bother him and just working it into his set in a way that generated a laugh every time.
A lot of the gags related to music (with a frightening number of song title gags in a row) and I’d be lying if I said I got all of the references, but such was the joy with which they were delivered, I even found myself laughing when I fully didn’t understand the joke I was laughing at – that is all down to Swift’s delivery. Perhaps the joke that best summed this show up was a musical joke involving Mancini’s Pink Panther theme. This was a silly joke with a twist and offered up in style – the result – the entire room laughing heartily. Swift’s show incorporated a lot of little films and was all the stronger for this. The danger with a fast paced pun laden show is that the audience can be laughed out rather swiftly and the ability to alter the pacing by showing a little cartoon was a real boon to this performance and I’m hoping to see more of this in Swift’s club set.
This was 45 minutes of sheer glee and can be seen at the Laughing Horse at the Hanover Tap.