Phil Wang is possibly better known, among those who know, as a member of the award-winning sketch comedy collective ‘Daphne’ (currently featuring on Radio 4 in their second series of ‘Daphne Sounds Expensive’). While Daphne are presenting an exclusive two-night only ‘Best of Daphne’ on the 21st and 22nd August at the Pleasance Courtyard, they aren’t appearing in this year’s Festival proper this year, leaving Wang available to present his first solo Edinburgh show: Kinabalu.
Like much of Daphne’s output there’s a joyful silliness to a lot of Wang’s material. The opening section involves the trials and pitfalls of trying to buy sexual lubricant from a supermarket that involves him saying the word “lube” so many times that it virtually loses all meaning. That’s not a criticism, by the way. I’ll happily sit and watch someone bellow the word “lube” until the cows come home (if you’ll pardon the inference).
Something else that reminded me of Daphne: Wang isn’t really the most natural performer of the three. He can be a bit stilted and/or mannered in his delivery, but he seems be able to amplify this apparent discomfort into a feature of his delivery. That said, he definitely seemed to relax into the show as he got into the meat of the better material.
I’m not saying this isn’t a good show, by the way. He weaves a very entertaining hour on the topics of cultural identity (he’s half-Malaysian and grew up in Malaysia) and it presents a very interesting take on his lack of post-Colonial discomfort compared to his friends and peers. I felt the show lacked a little flow, but it was an impressive first solo Edinburgh outing.
One last thing: if you like food and you’re currently in Edinburgh then follow him on Twitter. He’s rating the local Oriental eateries while he’s up at the Fringe and he supplied us with a few amazing suggestions while we were there. The Ting Thai Caravan was AMAZING.
Phil Wang will be appearing at The Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh (Venue 33) at 7pm until Sunday 27th August.
And follow him on @PhilNWang for any restaurant tips.