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Edinburgh Fringe 2011: James Sherwood


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Having seen a glimpse of James Sherwood’s show the previous night at Kitty Cointreau’s BraHaHa I was looking forward to seeing his show in its entirety.james sherwood

A musical comedian, James Sherwood with his show I Fed My Best Friend Her Favourite Cow looks at the meaning of good and bad, and what it is to be these things.

A nicely dressed and nicely spoken chap, Sherwood has no trouble getting the audience on side with his jokes and points out the arbitrary nature of lyrics concerning the themes of good and bad. Dividing the meaning of being good into two schools of thought – The Wham and the Waylon Jennings approaches – Sherwood has a list of fifty reasons why he believes he is good in a book that is backed with pictures of kittens.Light-hearted comedy ensues and although there are no belly laughs from me it is enjoyable all the same.

Sherwood also has a book of reasons why he is bad which is backed by a picture of David Cameron and George Osborne, incorporating some political satire into his act. More light-hearted comedy ensues as Sherwood, once more, asks the audience to shout out numbers and he reads out that particular reason. More piano playing ties up the show as the audience are invited to reflect on being good, bad and all the things in between.

Sherwood’s finale got many hearty laughs as he sang ‘Favourite Things’ from The Sound of Music over Carl Orff’s ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana. I did not laugh, however, because I was too irritated by the fact that yet again, O Fortuna had been used to denote something satanic and ‘bad’ when in fact it is about neither of those things and any musician who had basic background knowledge should be well aware of this.

I didn’t find the finale amusing because the joke didn’t work as the premise was null and void. I would gladly give a lecture on the meaning and proper usage of Orff’s cantata but I fear no one would listen so for now I’ll say on the whole Sherwood’s show is amusing and pretty much alright. 


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