Simon Munnery: Trials and Tribulations - On The Mic

Simon Munnery: Trials and Tribulations ★★★★

This Review is from August 2022

Simon Munnery has been performing comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe for over thirty years. I admit to having seen most of it. Here, he presents his straightest story-telling stand up set for a while, though it’s still wonderfully offbeat.

The opening ‘thought police’ sketch, with Munnery using a colander as prop was fun. Later, after being prompted by Munnery to heckle, a broad Scottish accent from the audience proclaims, “Get ‘arf!” In response, he performs Bob Dylan’s Balled of a Thin Man at him with a Michael Caine voice, “Sixteen verses, strap in!” Munnery has set the tone.

True story. Twenty years ago, in Edinburgh, the comedian was arrested for “being a German in a built-up area” which led to a ludicrous trial. Every year at the Fringe, alternative comedy legend, Arthur Smith, hosts a very late-night comedy tour of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. (This year it’s on the morning of Sunday 14th August at 2am – see Arthur’s Twitter for details). The walks are completely unauthorised, but good natured. Munnery would turn up as a German character and perform an improvised double act with Arthur, the English tour guide.

No one is quite sure why the police chose to arrest Simon Murrey that night. It does sound quite an ordeal, which included a strip search in the cells. While playing the story for laughs, Munnery doesn’t shy away from the more traumatic moments. The comedian was, quite unnecessarily, physically, and mentally hurt.

And the story of the trial itself is an absolute farce.

Munnery shies away from making overt points about freedom of expression. He’s too busy making us laugh. It’s a warm, hysterical show, featuring an absurd tale that just happens to be true.

Martin Walker

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