During the last few years, Andrew Doyle has made a name for himself as a frequently hilarious, sharply intelligent, and fearless comedian, ready to push his audiences’ tolerance of “bad taste” to the limit. Once, it led to him getting someone’s pint in his face—caught on video and forever now on YouTube. Yet last year’s Fringe sadly lacked his acerbic take on the world; in retrospect, his new show has been worth waiting for.
Doyle really should be playing in a much bigger room; as many people as possible deserve to enjoy such comedy gold.
Never before has Doyle seemed so on fire, so self-assured and at one with his stand-up “voice”. He bounds onto the stage and barely pauses for breath during the next hour, except for those moments when opening and drinking a bottle of wine or attempting to calm himself down through some fall-back “observational comedy” about the futility of toasters.
As a writer Doyle’s confident enough to remind us that this is a scripted show, not least by pointing out the deliberate “lull” that occurs about two-thirds of the way through when the jokes and laughs are deliberately fewer to give some extra punch to the eventual comedic climax. Yet Doyle is also a sufficiently experienced performer to make you think it’s all completely off-the-cuff, not least through his smoothly delivered reactions to what’s happening in the audience. (It goes without saying, of course, that Doyle is almost immediately flirting with a cute guy in the front row–even though the girlfriend is sitting next to him.)
Previously, Doyle has often rejected the tag of being a “gay comedian” who talks about “gay issues”, instead insisting that he’s a comedian who happens to be gay. On this occasion, he’s gone the other way; the inspiration for this show is allegedly the circumstances in which he was dumped by his boyfriend of seven years—and how he feels about it. This emotive subject—we’ve all been there, surely—provides the main narrative line running through the show. As a conceit, it works very well, even though—as one audience member said after the show: “Have I just paid good money to provide Andrew Doyle with some therapy?”
If you’ve seen Doyle’s previous shows during the last few years, you may well recognise some familiar riffs—his anger at the misuse of the English language, for example—but seldom have they been so finely tuned or sharply delivered as here. Doyle really should be playing in a much bigger room; as many people as possible deserve to enjoy such comedy gold.