The Truth, the Half-Truth and Nothing Like the Truth promises an hour of solid stand-up. In that respect, Danny McLoughlin is every bit as good as his word. For 60 minutes, the Chester comedian treats us to anecdotes about fly-kicking his nan and scoffing all the sausage rolls at a working class wedding. In case the jokes alone aren’t enough, we’re also given another incentive for sticking about till the bitter end: on stage beside McLoughlin, there stands a flipchart that reads ‘THE BIG ENDING’. When we get to the big E, the page will be duly flipped and Danny McLoughlin will reveal which of his anecdotes were real and which were fake. It’s a good concept for a stand-up show, one that toys with the premise that it’s often hard to tell whether our favourite comedians are telling us true stories or true lies.
McLoughlin comes across as the archetypal funny guy who lives down your local; an amiable Northern bloke who wants to regale you with banter over a pint and a packet of salt & vinegar. This would be all well and good, were we sitting down the pub with said victuals in our hands. In a dry subterranean club however, all we have is comedy. It’s probably just as well there aren’t many of us in attendance, because there aren’t a lot of laughs to share around. Danny McLoughlin is no punchline king, that’s for sure; he has his moments, but the show is never in danger of turning into a laugh riot.
The finale, when it arrives, is an anticlimactic disappointment. We’ve patiently stuck around for this long; we might as well wait a little longer to find out which of the comedian’s tales were legit. Instead, we’re treated to something of a damp squib, leaving the audience to file out with the discomfiting impression that they may have been trolled. There’s nothing fatally wrong with Danny McLoughlin’s comedy, but let’s face it: there are 2,500 shows clamouring for your affections at this year’s Fringe. According to the napkin I just scribbled on, it would take you six months to watch all of them – assuming you could cram in 12 hours of culture a day. If you were to watch these shows in order of merit, you’d get round to seeing Danny McLoughlin approximately three month into the gruelling odyssey. You do the maths.
This probably isn’t the most engrossing review you’ll ever read; neither is it likely to be the most boring. Like McLoughlin’s stand-up, it’s OK; nothing more, nothing less. Thankfully, in just 20 words’ time, it will all be over and then we need never speak of Danny McLoughlin again. I’m not lying.