I believe I saw three one-person shows this year. Of those three, #Vile was the only one that fell into the genre of outright comic. Standups aren’t usually my thing at Fringe but character-driven, narrative, comic monologues very much are.
Matthew Greenhough creates a distinct, memorable character who, from the outset, expertly caricatures the kind of D-list celebrities we are all familiar with. Greenhough has a keen sense of comic timing and delivery which he maintains throughout the performance and portrays it with excruciating realism. The performance is an unrelenting ride down the cringe-comedy river; it is painful to watch in many places but pleasantly so, for the most part. Greenhough’s character is at once a ridiculous parody of and uncomfortable accurate portrait of modern celebrity culture.
Greenhough’s use of exaggerated mannerisms to shift from character to character is entertaining and skillfully executed. They at first seem a little ridiculous but make sense once one realises this is not Greenhough portraying multiple characters but rather Greenhough portraying one character’s skewed interpretation and portrayal of the people around him. Greenhough has an incredibly strong sense of his character that gives this show it’s particular charm and natural believability.
The performance does slow down a little in places, and feels a bit dragged out, some of the material is repetitious, and few of the jokes are overdone or miss the mark. The attempt at poignancy towards the end is a little mismanaged but comes through satisfactorily enough. A one-person show of this sort is difficult to pull off but Greenhough’s talent as a performer does just about enough to carry it through to the end. While the script may at times be a little lacking, the acting is strong and solid enough to make it an enjoyable, memorable watch.