(as seen on Saturday August 16th, 2014)

by Ella Jean

Prompter is a great concept, taking the beloved, revered Ted Talk structure and turning it on its head with lectures that are absurd, presented by ill-prepared speakers who have to partially improvise their lectures when the autocue goes on the fritz. Playing the roles of experts are various comedians taking part in the Fringe festival.

The execution of these “ideas worth spreading” was not as remarkable. The topics the comedians were given were trying too hard to be funny, giving the performers nowhere to go with them.

The topics on Saturday included the tale of escaping from a Willy Wonka labour camp, a dissection of Beatles lyrics justifying the actions of Charles Manson, and one on the good lessons nazis brought to society.

The comedians did their best to spontaneously create a character and extrapolate on the topic when the script went awry. What really happened was broad, crude humour being overworked by comedians that had no space within the structure to be funny outside the odd groan-inducing pun. It was a bit like watching a horse die then sitting through 20 more minutes of flogging.

The show could’ve been better if the comedians were on a higher tightrope, so to speak, creating their own connections in subject matter that wasn’t so crass.

The technical aspects were smooth, with well placed video clips and a mock Ted stage. ‘Tis a shame that a show with such a charming concept relied on nazis and Charles Manson to be funny.


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