'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Mark Allen’s Pet Project Review

Mark Allen’s Pet Project

Rarely do the titles of comedy shows correspond in anyway with their content. It is rarer still to have a comedian who has not only done his research, but has helpfully provided us with a bibliography. As a result from the second Allen walks on stage, with his rodent like facial hair, it is no surprise that the effect is of a nerdy biology student presenting a paper on pets.

This unusual sense of structure in a comedy show leads him to some interesting observations. Cat food for example: what possible interest would a cat have in ‘Roast Beef and Gravy Flavour’? Allen highlights the lunacy of our relationship with animals, and how the lines separating ‘pet’ and ‘human’ have become fatally blurred. Pets are often dressed up, made to wear makeup or even trained to walk upright - one even got into the top ten of ‘Britain’s got talent.’
Extrapolate this worrying trend and you get the ‘Furries.’ These are a group of normal (sic) people who feel they have an animal spirit trapped inside them, be it a tiger, cheetah or stallion. Rarely is it a tortoise or marmot. Allen, diligent student that he is, infiltrated the group and eventually ends up in a dog costume at a Furries convention.

All this provides a wealth of insights and ideas, although the delivery is often lacking confidence. It is, however, refreshing to see a comedian explore something other than religion, nationalism or middle age.

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