Tim Clare’s Death Drive @ Zoo Roxy, Edinburgh

Dont let the title fool you. For a show that, not long in, includes a sequence about confessing suicidal feelings to your father followed later by a description of what happens to a body left to rot undiscovered, this show is rightfully billed under comedy in the Fringe programme. It is quite deliciously, darkly funny.

Occasional Aisle 16-er Tim Clare ably bridges the gap between stand up and poet. His debut solo show mines his teenage insecurities, not to mention his adult insecurities, for material, interspersing drawn-from-life stories and with the poems that sprang from them.
Cancer and Divorces descends from the transitory euphoria of being young, surrounded by friends and doing a thing you enjoy, through to the inevitability of failure and decay and ends up in an ab-slamming, Rocky-referencing conclusion: life doling out punch after punch after punch.

Again that sounds not entirely upbeat, but Clare is an engaging and open performer, able to switch near-seamlessly from discussing mental meltdown to dissecting (not literally) psychic horses. Death Drive begins with Clare holed up post in his parents home having recently lost his job (in this way it echoes Ross Sutherlands rather more ramshackle and Oulipian The Three Stigmata of Pacman, currently playing at the Underbelly) and ends with him in a more positive place, having had a book published and found his Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

When it comes to performing his poetry, his delivery is charged, coiled, his whole body involved in the process, face contorting, sweat leeching into his T-shirt, no word wasted.

The small, stuffy room at Zoo Roxy creates a feeling of intimate intensity which suits the material well. Clare is good at putting the audience at their ease and even proffers a Kinder Egg to the most responsive. An hour in his company simply zips by and many I suspect would have been happy to stay longer, to hear more. All this and he even ends on a song.

For tickets and further information go to

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