Phil Nichol - Hiro Worship

Phil Nichol's well-executed rock music interludes provide only temporary relief from a trite tale

★★
archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Published 05 Aug 2007

Have you ever wished to chew your own ears off rather than listen through to the end of a story? This is one such occasion.

Still basking in the glory of his critically acclaimed 2006 show The Naked Racist, If.comeddies award-winner Phil Nichol returns to the Fringe with Hiro Worship, an excrutiatingly repetitive tale dragged out over the course of an hour.

Armed with an electric guitar and an abrasive voice, Nichol retells the story of Japanese lodger Hiro through a combination of stand-up and song, accompanied by a rock band comprising two guitars and a drummer. The saga goes something like this: Hiro heckles Nichol at a gig, stays at Nichol's house, plays rock music incessently, attempts to search for the Rolling Stones and infuriates the comedian's flatmates until they finally get rid of him. Unfortunately, Nichol's uninspiring script, which employs overused stereotyping in a pathetic attempt to dredge up some laughs, annihilates the comedic potential of the plot.

It is the Nichol's excrutiating repetition of the same joke (Hiro is described as a "little Japanese guy" who likes rock music and who "takes photos of everything") which makes this show unbearably tedious. Even his crude attempts to teach the audience something of Japanese culture – "everything in Japan is pigeon-holed", "Japanese people get obsessed with one thing" – are undermined when he slips up, unintentionally replacing the word "Japanese" with "Chinese".

Although Nichol's method of musical storytelling has potential, the well-executed rock music interludes provide only temporary relief from the trite tale. His performance certainly has gusto and his talented impressions liven up the act, but Nichol's frantic rasping does little to disguise the absence of witty, amusing material. Someone should break it to Nichol that a bellowing delivery doesn't necessarily redeem a bad joke.