Aidan Goatley’s stand-up show isn’t, despite its title, about ELO; indeed, there’s no obvious guarantee that he will get round to telling us why he chose one of that band’s biggest hits as his title. What he does promise, however, is to talk about “the stuff you have to go through to get to where you are”; in other words, this is very much about the personal.
Goatley came to stand-up via scriptwriting, so you definitely know that, in his company, you’re in a pair of safe hands at least as far as the writing is concerned.
Goatley, as he quickly points out, is not a youngster; stand-up comedy, arguably, was the only mid-life crisis that his wife would allow him to have. Given that he’s the epitome of a Brighton-living, socially responsible middle-class Englishman – who gets posher-sounding the further north he travels in mainland Britain – that mid-life crisis also reveals itself in the number of tattoos on his arms – still a work in progress, it would appear, given the protective cling wrap round one forearm on the night of the review.
While admitting to a deep hatred of Bon Jovi, Goatley is hardly rock ’n’ roll – he’s a comic books geek who has somehow managed – in a relatively short time – to make something of a career for himself on the comedy circuit. There’s nothing particularly radical about his material, certainly in terms of subject – foreign travel experiences, an intimate medical procedure involving his reproductive organ, his problems when it comes to facing up to the Alpha Males of the world – but he tells each story with a real sense of freshness, bouncing well off audience feedback and even successfully incorporating the nightly sound of fireworks from the nearby Edinburgh Military Tattoo into his routine. He’s responsible too, checking the ages of some younger audience members to make sure he isn’t crossing some dangerous line.
Goatley came to stand-up via scriptwriting, so you definitely know that, in his company, you’re in a pair of safe hands at least as far as the writing is concerned. His onstage persona is also well honed; for the audience, that’s happily reassuring and conducive to having a good time.