Words: Natasha Chanse
Ollie Horn skips onto the stage and immediately the darkened room at The Mash House lights up. You could almost believe he brought the sunshine that dispelled the torrential downpour taking place in Cowgate at the time.
First impressions are important, and Horn brings a contagiously boisterous energy that can’t help but lift your spirits; like witnessing a child on Christmas morning. However, this chaotic appearance never strays beneath the surface. At its core, the set is structured and well-organised, demonstrating Horn’s professional understanding of how to best utilise an hour.
Horn re-enacts three of the most awkward performances of his career in the aim of achieving the mission of the show; to provide escapism and delight. Off we trot through the ridiculous and slightly tragic experiences that will leave you gasping, laughing, cringing with vicarious embarrassment, and grinning from ear-to-ear. From paragliding to shows and underhand performances across the globe; the elements of the ridiculous would seem staged in other shows but are made delightfully believable by Horn’s happy-go-lucky, free-spirited stage presence.
At times, the show steps away from these stories and briefly enter the dark territory of difficult family dynamics and heartbreak. This simultaneously validates the need for escapism whilst temporarily disrupting its effect. The sharpness of the details cut the ties of suspension and allow reality to come crashing in. However, Horn’s set exudes a positivity made infectious due to its sincere appreciation for the value of the ridiculous.
Ollie Horn: Not Much
Just the Tonic at the Mash House, Just the Cask Room