George Dimarelos returns to C Nova for his second year at the Edinburgh Fringe. As his name would suggest, Dimarelos is part Greek and, as his accent reveals, part Australian. His show is mostly autobiographical, bringing us snapshots of his life, heritage and background, mixed alongside his own observations and experiences.
Dimarelos has an outwardly laid-back, confident approach and a friendly manner with his audience – he seems really keen for us to like him. He began by asking each of us a few of the type of typical opener questions used by club night compères and finding out a little about his audience. He chatted, building a good rapport and with a genuine interest, but he had neither a bank of comebacks (the sort from which other comedians might draw in such a situation), nor any quick-thinking, witty retorts to make this segment really shine.
He was able to make good use of the space, illustrating his stories with movement, mime and gesture, all the while engaging us visually. With a very likeable persona, it is clear he is working hard and really wants to make us laugh – certainly admirable qualities. However, I felt his act was lacking in both the material and his timing. Whilst the set-ups were clear enough, the punchlines were weak.
This was in part due to the stories and observations, in my opinion, not being all that funny either in isolation or in the way they were written. There are of course comedians who can make even the most banal of material hilarious, but that wasn't the case here. Dimarelos has some good ideas, telling us about his time travelling, awkwardness with girls and stern Greek father; but there isn't anything going on that particularly ties it all together.
The set finished well, with a clever call-back at the end and funny comment as we were leaving. And to be fair, the audience was laughing regularly – but to my mind, while Dimarelos has potential and is a good performer, unfortunately his material and delivery let him down. So despite his tangible enthusiasm, it didn't quite work for me.