This review first appeared in The Skinny
Phil Wang: Mellow Yellow @ Pleasance Courtyard
Phil Wang, bespectacled in a striped cardigan, takes to the small, circular rug that is his stage in Pleasance Courtyard’s Bunker 1, and is soon casually justifying his show’s provocative title. Mellow Yellow begins as a wry and knowing assessment of Wang’s cultural status as a half-Chinese Brit (yes, his name sounds like a cock), and while this is all exceedingly funny, it’s common ground for a comedian to tread.
However, there is much more to come. From his insightful and waggish dissection of needlessly dark, gritty movie reboots (step forward Maleficent), to his unabashed pride in his sexual prowess – via some seriously fucked-up, laugh-out-loud reflections on the Teletubbies, Art Attack and Postman Pat – Wang proves himself to be a natural comic. All this is sound-tracked by the steady flow of laughter that can only be heard coming from a relaxed audience that knows it’s in the hands of a pro.
Aged just 24, Wang discusses a diverse range of topics, from the nonsense to be found on social media and the pressure to be a lad on holiday, to the gender politics of food advertising and the true definition of ‘geek’. With some of the deadpan wit of Richard Ayoade and the subversive intelligence of Stewart Lee, Wang’s pièce de résistanceis his brilliant parody of the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, which has to be seen to be fully appreciated (and includes a phrase to rival a certain iconic sketch that should not be named for fear of spoiling the surprise).
Such joyful, low-key quippery is a delight to behold, and, alongside his adroitly droll off-the-cuff responses to audience reactions, sets Wang apart as one of the most gifted young comedians to grace the Fringe this year.