Andy Smart - The Dope

Gilded Balloon Backstage II - Venue 38

Something that struck me at the start of this show is a man rolling what was allegedly a joint in front of a sign saying "No Smoking".

Those of you who, like me, are impro fans will know of Andy Smart. One of the famous Comedy Store Players and once one of the Vicious Boys, he is here in Edinburgh as one of the Impro Allstars, and also for his own show, "The Dope".

The pro-cannabis lobby in Britain is gaining momentum, and many expect legalisation soon. The "dope joke" is a feature of most comedians' sets, and the now infamous Howard Marks is at Edinburgh doing his own show, and apparantly visited Andy's. Despite all of this openness, cannabis possession is still illegal, and we all pause tensely as a police car goes by, siren blaring...

Whatever your standpoint on the legalisation of cannabis, this should be an interesting show to see. It is fairly evenly split between an informative and well-researched lecture on the history of cannabis, and Andy sharing his amusing and sometimes touching anecdotes of his own experiences.

Interested outsiders like me learn a lot from this, but you can see that some of the audience have "been there" for a lot of the tales of first joints and the munchies...

He gives the first impression of being a very laid-back, cockney wide-boy type, but during the show we begin to see a much more educated and poetic Andrew - his diary entry of the first time he got really stoned had us all stunned into rapt silence.

He also shows us some of the "tools of the trade" as it were - some wonderful "novelty roaches" I suppose you could call them.

This is a show for the cannabis connisseur, or the open-minded, or the merely curious. The relaxed, friendly style is perfect - we are not encouraged into drug use or promotion, merely asked to watch, learn from his experiences and make our own conclusions at the end.

Click here for an interview with Andy Smart about The Dope.

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