James Veitch: The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everyone with an Internet Connection

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (comedy): James Veitch: The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everyone with an Internet Connection at Gilded Balloon (Venue 14). Review by Martin Gray

Here’s a show as tight as its title is unwieldy. James Veitch is a sharp young fella, in possession of a curious mind, and a bit of a whizz with Photoshop. Two years ago, rather than simply delete e-mail from spammers out to nick his cash, he decided to have some fun with them. It’s not like he had a girlfriend to distract him…

So he replied to the likes of Solomon Odonkoh, who had a totally legitimate, not at all dodgy proposal for transferring gold to the UK with the help of Veitch, his UK bona fides and bank account.

Cue an increasingly funny back and forth as Veitch’s naive, enthusiastic questioning drives the would-be scammer to distraction. As new best pal Solomon gets more and more frustrated, his e-mails become increasingly ill-tempered, and Veitch gets ever more gleefully, brazenly cheeky.

Can this idea sustain an hour-long show? In Veitch’s hands, easily. As well as amusing exchanges with online folk – including “Winnie Mandela”, desirous of help with three-months-dead hubby Nelson’s medical bills – the engaging Veitch opens up about his oh-so-lonely life and offers tips on how we, too, can have fun with the scammers. On-stage computer graphics, one of TV’s top secret agents and as-you-leave badges add to the fun of a show which manages to be educational while delivering near-constant belly laughs.

In Veitch’s hands, what could be a mildly amusing TED-style lecture becomes a hilarious insight into the minds of both the scammers and the man who makes himself their comic nemesis. And if Veitch’s comedy career doesn’t take off he could easily earn a living designing company websites – or scamming the surprisingly stupid Solomon Odonkoh.

Until 25 August. Today 3pm.

Originally published in The Scotsman

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