6th February – Exeter Phoenix – Alex Horne – ‘Lies’

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the Phoenix we go yet again for Alex Horne, not someone I knew but Dave assured me he was quite well known on tv and radio and so it should definitely be a good comedy night out.

We arrived to find several pedestals on stage, two with photos of Alex and one with a toy panda with a mic pointed towards its tummy. Another one held a laptop. What was it all about? We didn’t have long to wait to find out.

Alex’s show is quite simply like nothing else we’d seen before. We’ve seen audio tracks being used to good effect in other comedy, (Tom Bins in Edinburgh) but nobody does it like Alex. His act is a fab mix of talking books, taped tracks of various people (including himself) his own observations, some very accurate lip synching and jokes (“I don’t do jokes but I have to put one in every seven minutes to keep the venue happy.”) and the most incredibly spot on, CLEVER timing.

Taking the mickey out of the book reviewers on radio by proving that spouting a few generic cliches can get you out of not actually having to read anything (Alex says that the book he had to read for his turn on the radio was too hard and he didn’t read it) gets a lot of laughs and then we get onto the books that Alex does like…biographies, and specifically we get to see and hear a lot of the audiobook biographies of Michael Caine, Andre Agassi and Cherie Blair (QC)!

There follows much surreal, sublime splicing and mixing which has everyone laughing in wonderment at the creativity and work that has gone into this….and still Horne’s own recorded voice is cutting in and over the realtime Alex’s voice, who talks back to himself …and don’t forget the panda who has his say several times during the show, with the help of a well timed press on his paw!

How Alex does it I’m not quite sure…is he keeping an eye on his own watch and timing things to the second? Are the techs on the sound desk earning their pay like never before? A combination of both? We don’t know and maybe to know would spoil the technical magic so we won’t pry too hard and anyone else who sees this shouldn’t try to pick it apart but just sit back and enjoy it for the ninety minutes (at least) of pure gold that it is.

We had a break in the middle which gave Alex the chance to go and change from his jeans and checked shirt into a smart/casual black trousers, jacket, tie affair, somewhat unusually set off by yellow socks….cue for a clever trick later but not going to spoil that for you!

Several audience members, Steve, Kez, (and on this occasion myself) were singled out for a bit of fun but nothing to make anyone uncomfortable; even Steve who ended up being sat on during one piece about aeroplane seats, even came up at the end to say how much he’d enjoyed the show.

Alex Horne is going to be at Machyllneth in Wales this May bank holiday doing this show on the Saturday and “The Horne Section” on the Sunday night. Go see him…he’s worth it!


(Dave: Anagram – Alex Horne – Haler Oxen )


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