Iain Stirling - Relevant

Iain Stirling's Relevant is undeniable proof of not only of his talent as a comedian and ability to entertain across generations, but also the level of his comedic reflexes, intuition and ability to quickly adapt to the opportunities - and heckles - that are thrown his way. Stirling is an equal opportunity mocker, but in a good-natured sort of way that produces moments of comedy gold.

An equal opportunity mocker

Who needs a talking dog puppet when you have such a great support act in Steve Bugeja? The pair compliment each other’s styles in their anecdotal observationist comedy to the point where they pretty much fill in the gaps with the subject matter of their respective sets. Bugeja’s nervous energy and occasional underpins not only his set, but manages to somehow transcend throughout the rest of the evening. Bugeja’s routine becomes a critique of milestones, occasionally taking on a miser-like tone. Because of the anecdotal nature of his comedy, the pace of his jokes is slower and can come off as rambling more often than not. His final anecdote is very entertaining and results in the most payoff, as he rounds off the persona that he spends setting up over the course of his set.

Relevant is almost like an update on Stirling’s life as he brings the audience up to speed on the latest developments and experiences that he’s had in the period of time when his voice became more famous than his face - his words. Subject-wise, it’s hard to tell if the set is feminist or goes too far in its self-mockery that it toes the line of not sexism, but not exactly female empowerment either. It is a wonderful moment when Stirling is able to use his platform and comedy to say incredibly important truths about the hypocrisy of attitudes to women and motherhood, and doing so is really important. It’s just then when he then makes jokes and generalisations about himself and men that the comedy take on a slightly odd and clumsy tenor that is difficult to put a finger on.

Throughout his time onstage, Stirling proves that he is a masterful improviser, engaging with the audience heckles with good-natured banter and repostes. Whether it’s leftover energy from Bugeja's set or something else entirely, but Stirling rattles around the stage, emphasizing punchlines and impressions with the odd moment of physical comedy that comes off goofy at times. There’s something for everyone in Stirling’s comedy; the jokes are potentially relatable, or we’ve grown up watching him on TV and we’re one of the 5% who can understand a very accurate heckle or we can find whatever truth there is in the local color that he is able to work throughout his set. A performance by Stirling is almost a guarantee to be entertained in that way.

Stirling’s jokes are funny for the sake of it, creating a light-hearted atmosphere in the venue. Because he is the comedian that he is, Relevant is an objectively funny, if a little vanilla, set.

Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

Monkey Barrel Comedy

Steve Bugeja: Self Doubt (I Think)

★★★★
Music Hall Aberdeen

Iain Stirling - Relevant

★★★★
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The House with the Chicken Legs

★★
Lyric Theatre

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

★★★★
Eventim Apollo

Iliza Shlesinger - Hard Feelngs Tour

★★★★★
Park Theatre London

The Time Machine

★★★★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

The BAFTA-winning comedian, ‘national sensation’ (Evening Standard) and ‘extremely funny’ (Daily Telegraph) Iain Stirling, is bringing his intuitive razor-sharp humour back on tour with a brand new stand-up show for 2024.

As the iconic voice of Love Island, star and writer of sitcom Buffering on ITV, and with his own stand-up special, Failing Upwards, on Prime Video, Iain hits the road once more with a brand new hour (of jokes) in his biggest tour to date! (It’s called RELEVANT if you’re interested).

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