“Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Sit in a 150 Seater at 10pm and Provide the Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches”

Comedian Brendan Burns and professional wrestler Colt Cabana with their Edinburgh Fringe 2014 show.Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana
Stand in the Square
Reviewed 21st August
4 stars

An Australian, an American and an Englishman walk into a yurt in Edinburgh. It’s the setup for an evening of unreconstructed indulgence.

Barthes called professional wrestling a ritualised spectacle in the tradition of Greek morality theatre. Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana proudly uphold that tradition, although more along the vein of Aristophanic phallus-bopping and pratfalling than in any ‘sombre march to Eleusis’ sense.

They make a lot of dick jokes, is essentially what I’m getting at; and they do it in a way that celebrates both the extravagance and the absurdity of professional wrestling. Colt Cabana has 15 years of in-ring experience behind him, and Brendon Burns drinks cheap beer out of a tin. We’re in expert hands.

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There’s a strong sense of communality to the venue. The format of the show is almost like watching YouTube clips with your mates round and a pizza on the way. There’s no setlist (or planning at all), and the audience is definitely self-selected; this is a hairier room than History of Heavy Metal and I feel that adult onset diabetes is a pressing concern for many here.

We’re quite happy to chant at the “Pimms o’clock cunts” outside. If you’re a wrestling fan, you’re among friends.

Cabana is a gag merchant in the ring, but unwilling to barter for laughs outside of it – he’s not the pandering type. Burns is the hammier of the two, and sometimes leans on vulgarity and an Australiana schtick that borders on grating. They’re joined by a rotating guest list, with Kai Humphries performing admirably to keep up with them on the night I saw.

Happily, there’s nothing overly outre to offend even the most genteel of wrestling fans. Dick and pussy jokes come in equal measure and with good nature, and our comperes lampoon the latent racism and sexism of the industry (with Burns’ Vince McMahon impression a highlight).

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This is a niche appeal show, and you’d have to be a fan to get everything out of it. However, there is the occasional tourist dropping by and it’s not a torturous experience for them. Serious fans may consider multiple visits, but even the uninitiated can laugh at the broad humour and bathos on show from Bad Wrestling.

EU < Patrick

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