The Gamble half of duo Peacock & Gamble brings his debut solo effort to Edinburgh – in which he’s being himself, and doing straight stand-up. It might be a break from the cult success the double-act has had over the past few years, but the set is full of promise that Ed can cope alone.
There’s certainly no hint of desperation. The front row is reassured that they won’t be picked on tonight (although at one point Gamble does stare intently into the eyes of one of them, while re-enacting a passenger being sick on a plane). He raises an interesting point early on: why would anyone “pay to be abused” in the first place?
Much of the show is personal. Gamble focuses on his weight loss, his new “badass” exercise regime, and some myth-busting around diabetes. It feels at times quite a safe approach, but it’s understandable why you would want your first full solo effort to be a solid hour of comedy rather than anything more experimental.
The conversational style keeps the audience engaged as he moves swiftly from one anecdote to another. After reaching the optimal size and weight, Gamble proudly demonstrates kicking his way through the automatic doors of a popular high street clothes shop to buy a new wardrobe and become a new man – later regretting the purchase of a hazardous belt buckle.
The energy rarely dips as Gamble breaks down his life with diabetes and literally, with help from the audience, “blows away” the many misconceptions surrounding it (“Is that the one where you have to eat a Mars bar?”).
As the show progresses, Ed draws gasps of horror when he describes an embarrassing story of “runner’s trots” and then really tests the audience’s threshold (so to speak) towards the end. He draws us in for a tale about the somewhat-personal treatment for a particular medical condition in vivid, almost grotesque detail. Shocking as most of the post-op imagery is, this part really does have the audience squirming and laughing in equal measure.
Gamble keeps everyone on side throughout his climactic spiral of crudeness, which is testament to his natural ability as a comic. It might not be a groundbreaking set, but it’s a tight, entertaining hour that suggests there’s a lot more to come.