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Fringe review: Archie Maddocks: Matchstick @ The Mash House


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Matchstick is a stellar example of stand-up comedy, with Archie Maddocks performing a well-structured, funny and political show. Without having to sell his show with politics, he covers a huge variety of political and social issues through his humour, easily engaging the audience in new ideas and concepts. In his own words, it is “social comedy and shit jokes”.

Image Tom Leishman

Many of his jokes involve innuendoes and can be quite on-the-nose; however, he is very relatable and comes across as just a normal guy. Being from London, a lot of his content is very London-based (not abnormal for the Fringe), but he still manages to be relatable to those outside of the London bubble.

Maddocks pulls the audience in with serious topics including male privilege, religion, race, politics and more. He also talks about his own identity and the crises he faces within that, especially regarding his own opinions and emotions and how he expresses them. Something that most young people, especially young men, can relate to these days.

One key message I took away from Matchstick was that we shouldn’t be striving for equality but looking for fairness – everyone should be treated fairly, not given exactly the same treatment (since that doesn’t work for everyone). The show ends on a serious note about Maddocks’ personal experiences with the Grenfell tower fire that took place last June, and how he knew people in the tower. At this point he sits down to convey the sombre mood of the situation. He focuses on the importance of the community and how they mobilised before the government did following the fire – and that’s what’s important. Community.

Overall, Maddocks puts on a great stand-up show with his political brand of comedy, but manages to make it just personal enough too. You don't have to be political to enjoy Matchstick - it is funny in its own right, due to Maddocks' talents.

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 

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