Sunday, 20 January 2008

Glenn Wool, Addy Van Der Borgh, The Wee Man, Liam Mullone, compere Susan Morrison – The Stand, Edinburgh, 05/01/2008

The first weekend of the new year saw a strong line up, featuring three well established acts as well as one of the Stand’s most dependable hosts. Susan Morrison may look like somebody’s mum who just wandered in off the street, but her brand of Glasgow gutter humour never fails to warm up even the most hard hearted of crowds. Tonight she had comedy gold on her side as she taunted a youngster from a work party in the front row with threatening to make a man of him, only to inadvertently reveal that one of the others present had got there first.

Liam Mullone was first up, who, despite his Irish sounding name, is a big, shambling, ex public schoolboy type with a delivery somewhat reminiscent of Harry Enfield’s “Tim Nice-But-Dim.” But despite his shambolic appearance and befuddled style, his material is sharp and nicely observed, including a lengthy routine about flight safety procedures and the importance of always leaving an aircraft that has landed on water by the middle emergency exits because they have the longest slide, and if it’s the last thing you’re ever going to do you may as well have fun doing it.

The Wee Man began, apparently, as a YouTube phenomenon, but is now making a go of it in the clubs. His Ned/Chav persona has been done many times before, of course, but giving him his due he managed to get some fresh mileage out of it. With an impenetrable Glaswegian accent he was probably unintelligible to the non-Scots in the audience, a fact that he riffed on during the act. But he managed some good material, particularly on the importance of how you wear your burberry cap making all the difference between being an ordinary person or a “threat to society!” His set was no more than ten minutes, and probably the right length. Any longer would have become annoying, but as it was he left a decent impression.

Addy Van Der Borgh has been around the circuit for a while, long enough to become a slick and polished performer. Blessed with a nose which in any other profession would be a drawback but in stand-up is like gold dust, he only has to walk out onto the stage to get his first laugh of the evening. But his opening was material about his alcoholism which, while strong, I first saw him do over two years ago and which, as such, should probably be retired by now. That said, what followed was more entertaining confessional comedy covering standard relationship type topics, and with his wide eyed expressions he manages to pull a good few guffaws out of the bag.

Headliner for the evening, you can generally take it to the bank that Glenn Wool is going to put on a good show. But I have to admit I think this was an off evening, not helped by a total wanker of an Irishman in the audience who threw all his toys out of the pram just because Wool, in a practiced routine, suggested that Ireland was not the greatest country on earth. First trying to engage the comic in argument and then pointedly turning his seat to face the back of the room before finally storming out, he really just showed himself up as a childish idiot, but nonetheless it seemed to throw Wool off his stride.

But to the rest of the audience he seemed to go down very well, and my own disappointment may just have been because I had heard much of the material before, the set having seemingly been cobbled together from bits of his last two Edinburgh Fringe shows. Nonetheless, with his laid back stoner demeanour and his mightily impressive ‘tache, he’s a hard man not to warm to. Meanwhile, nobody should be deceived by his helium high Canadian drawl and his lethargic delivery, they mask some quite incisive humour, particularly when he gets onto his pet topics of religion and intolerance.

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