At the risk of damning Fred McAuley with faint praise, this is an extremely competent set. At no point are the laughs uproarious, but he frequently raises a smile and a chuckle. There is the sense that we are in safe hands, but it almost feels too safe.
This is a good show, but that is about as far as it goes.
The show is executed with professionalism and aplomb. McAuley ties his material together impressively, and the whole thing has a polished feel to it. So what is missing? Perhaps it is the fact that pretty much every comedian at the Fringe has had his five minutes’ say on the independence debate, but nothing in McAuley’s set feels particularly new or exciting.
There are some amusing anecdotes about his altercations with individuals in high visibility jackets, and an encounter with Scotland’s first minister. The whole independence debate is treated with an enjoyable sense of absurdity, with neither side getting let off lightly. McAuley’s love for his home country shines through, and there is a charming undercurrent of affection running through the show. Indeed, this same sense of amiable mockery is apparent in McAuley’s interaction with his audience members.
This is a good show, but that is about as far as it goes. I can think of far worse ways to spend an hour, but having said that, I can also think of several better.