Dan Nightingale wants us to like him. And so, to lower his audience's defensive barriers, he's initially depreciative about his own flyer, in particular its 'overzealous' quotes and a main photograph (taken the week he'd lost his glasses) which looks so unlike him that someone on the street had earlier tried to give him a flyer for his own show. It's important, of course, that we do like Nightingale. After all, the show is rooted in his relationships: those of the past - with both 'highly-strung' former girlfriends and an absent father - and his present connections with his sister, young nephew and a grandfather in his early 90s.
The focus of the show is nominally on why Nightingale's been 'properly single' for five years (no sympathy desired, though he's good at fanning the flames among the women in the audience), punctuated only by a few delightfully termed 'starter relationships' with a profile on Match.com to show for his efforts. However, the show does cover a broader range of subjects, not least the conflict within a man who, while fearing he's now being left behind by friends settling down to raise families, still continues to enjoy the significantly greater amounts of free time and income he has at his disposal.
Nightingale's a comforting presence on stage, even though there can be a sharp edge to some of his playful audience interactions. If the Fringe is indeed, as he says, like a convention for stand-ups who don't believe they're as famous as they should be, then good word of mouth should help him rise up the rankings. If there was a fault with this particular preview performance, it was towards the close, when Nightingale tried to illustrate his genuine love of stand-up by talking about a debut performer at a Mancunian comedy night he MCed. By quoting a little too much of it almost verbatim, Nightingale unfortunately distracted the audience's attention from his own abilities, which is a shame: this boy could indeed go far.