A public-school Ed Byrne in appearance with the patter of a middle-aged Jack Whitehall, Mark Dolan’s You’re Awesome is a gentle, beguiling hour. The first half of the show treads a familiar path, raising gentle chuckles as Dolan unerringly hits the buttons of the opening night Fringe crowd: supermarket 'finest' ranges; domestic arguments; Alex Salmond’s erotic eyes.
His routine – earnest in places, sometimes conspiratorial – is reminiscent of an evening in the pub with your funniest friend: not the loud one, or the showy one, or the regretted former housemate in his beloved pink leather trousers; but the warm, witty, worldly-wise companion who makes an evening zip by in an instant.
But Dolan is at his best off-the-cuff, sparring with the audience. His softly-spoken evisceration of a student comedy troupe in the front row allowed him briefly to bare his comedic teeth and his recovery from the elephant trap of referring to a female audience member as 'he' was a masterpiece in sangfroid. By his own admission, Dolan has written forty minutes’ worth of material for his hour’s slot: the quick-wittedness he displays in these unscripted portions raise the show to greater heights.
While one always expects the unexpected amidst the stramash of the Fringe, it’s a rum thing to have the first show of your Edinburgh run cut short by an audience member collapsing on stage. To Dolan's credit, he took even this in his stride, coming to the aid of the stricken before swiftly wrapping up his impressive show. Subtle, understated and unmistakably a master of his craft, Dolan’s return to the stage can be safely filed in his binder of Things That Are Awesome.