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Malcolm Hay finds a star in the making at the Edinburgh Fringe

Take out a second mortgage, sell the car, and put the money on the safest bet you’ll ever make in this uncertain world: that Tim Minchin will be the next big thing in musical comedy. He’s a 29-year-old Australian who hadn’t appeared in the UK before he came to this year’s Edinurgh Fringe. In fact, he only took up comedy back home in Melbourne a couple of years ago. His solo show ‘Dark Side’ (at the Gilded Balloon), packed with so much energy and talent it’s bursting at the seams, should make Minchin a red-hot favoutire when the time comes for dishing out awards.

His sheer power and versatility as a pianist and singer are astounding. But it’s the fierce intelligence of his humour that makes Minchin so distinctive. It’s there, of course, in the lyrics – the Palestine Peace Anthem which offers a novel recipe for uniting Jews and Arabs, his song in praise of an inflatable doll, or the deeply sacreligious ‘Ten-Foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins’. It’s there, too, in the black comedy of his remarks between the songs. Minchin has lines that can bring tears to the eyes, although he undercuts even the faintest hint of sentimentality. This material is far too raw for mainstream television. But Minchin could take the show straight into the West End.

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