Andrew Doyle: Future Tense

Andrew Doyle has now brought five solo shows to Edinburgh, each noticeably different in style and tone; even Doyle’s on-stage persona has shifted somewhat from one year to the next – although you could never accuse him of sliding all the way along the attitude spectrum to reach dewy-eyed optimism. Which is supposedly why, this time round, Doyle tells us he’s trying to “gee up” his set – as symbolised in the pre-show music selection (some upbeat 1980s pop rock courtesy of Huey Lewis and the News), the occasional Biblical quote, and his somewhat calculated attempts to crack a certain Edinburgh Fringe Award.

Thought-provoking, laugh-inducing, and weirdly celebratory (despite everything), Doyle is very much on top comedic form.

Yet, as the near-finished tall bottle of cheap vodka on the small table suggests, Doyle is ever-so-slightly a bit of a pessimist, and there hasn’t been much to alter that in the news of late. The heart of Future Tense isn't the day after tomorrow; it’s the constant tension between Doyle’s repeated attempts to satisfy audiences which he thinks “just want to be cheered up”, and his involuntary slipping back into cynicism about the state of the world. Doyle has never shied away from referencing contemporary culture in past shows, but he’s seldom before been quite as focused on the current political situation as now. Frankly, he’s very good at it, even if you might hear an echo of a certain spoof news reporter whose debut Fringe show has been co-written by Doyle.

Doyle is, of course, an excellent, original writer; his shows – even something as seemingly free-flowing as this – are very... considered. Also, his take on arguably orthodox, even predictable, subjects for comedy at the Fringe – the privately-educated 7% of the population who dominate our cultural and political elites, the family members you love but don’t necessarily like, etc – are memorable and highly original. (There’s one particular diatribe here which concludes with Doyle brilliantly pulling the proverbial rug from under his audience; you definitely need to pay attention at one of Doyle’s shows.)

Yet never doubt that Doyle’s talent as a writer is equalled by his onstage presence; his acerbic, take-control approach which inevitably leads him to flirt with any man who happens to be sitting in the front row – ideally if they’re sat next to a female partner. Like some hard-eyed child, he’ll ask audience members those questions you’re really not supposed to, with an intensity that’s frankly difficult to resist – and chances are you’ll laugh precisely because he’s not asking you.

Thought-provoking, laugh-inducing, and weirdly celebratory (despite everything), Doyle is very much on top comedic form.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Andrew Doyle returns to Edinburgh following total sell-out runs for his last three shows. ‘Fantastically funny’ (GQ). ‘One of the funniest, sharpest, cruellest comedians out there. Prepare for all your internal organs to burst with laughter’ (Independent). ‘Strong stand-up with a mischievous streak’ **** (Chortle.co.uk). ‘A masterclass in the art of stand-up comedy’ ***** (ScotsGay). ‘Intensely sharp and clever’ ***** (Hairline.org). ‘Very, very funny’ **** (TVBomb.co.uk). ‘Comedy gold’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘One of the country’s most exciting comedic talents’ **** (Gay Times). ‘Utterly hilarious. Doyle seems well en route to his creative peak' **** (Fest).