Wednesday, July 6

AngloViking Invasion Before Naptime – Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Thor and Joshua were right. No one saw an invasion quite like this one. As Joshua Mason Wood waited on a boat with his bohemian parents, Thor Stenhaug stopped by the job centre and stumbled into comedy. The result? For the cost of nothing, you can see them for free.

Yes, the Edinburgh Fringe is notorious for being hit and miss with it’s coming and goings of rising stars, especially amongst the free arm of the festival. But these guys stand out amongst what can be tawdry offerings of festival’s past and find themselves somewhere on the journey to paid tickets. While this may not be the gem of the Fringe (yet), they are the gem of the Free Fringe.

Appreciating Stand Up is based on taste, and while I thought Stenhaug at times a little safe and Mason-Wood a little too crude, it’s undeniable, the crowd love them. Stenhaug’s an endearing charmer, at home with chatting to couples on the front row as much as he is delivering observational humour. Meanwhile Mason Wood has the potential to be the new thinking Zillennial’s comedian. The faces may be masked, but the laughter is loud for the two very different comics who really target two very different audiences and yet still unite them under the same roof. After 18 comedy starved months, these lads are getting paid their dues.

During both comic’s halves we see some fleeting glimpses of impressive comedy craft, worth more than the free tickets for sure. Thor Stenhaug’s rep really gets going once the introductory niceties are over and when he starts telling us about the prospect of his Grandma on Tinder and his alcohol fuelled conception.  Mason Wood’s comic talent revels in his musings on the downfalls of stag party shenanigans, delivering dark one liners to roaring laughter. They’re glimpses, but it’s enough to show a reviewer there’s real promise here.

‘We’re worth the price of a pint’, they tell us. Indeed, they are, and then some. At the end of the gig, one thing is clear; we could have heard more from both. And would I pay for their next show? Absolutely.

See you in a year, gentlemen- it’s time to level up. Our wallets will be waiting.

Reviewer: Melissa Jones 

Reviewed: 19th August 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★