For a country of barely four million people, Ireland has gifted us with a disproportionate number of comedians. From Dara O'Briain to Ed Byrne via Dylan Moran and Graham Norton, the Emerald Isle has played an exaggerated role in making British audiences laugh over the past few years. Neil Delamere, then, with his thick rich accent, should feel right at home and we should do our part to welcome him; an act of his quality should not have to flee back across the Irish Sea for lack of success.
Not that there seems much chance of that happening. The venue was packed to the rafters and Delamere immediately made the most of the company, striking up witty conversations with late-comers and hecklers alike. Nor did he relegate audience interactions to a cursory warm up before the show proper began.
Rather, Delamere brilliantly referenced his impromptu stooges throughout his set, seamlessly combining his prepared material with improvised skits about the reticent Spanish girl at the back or man at the front who confessed (in front of his girlfriend, though if anyone was aware of his habit, it's presumably her) that he discarded used condoms on the floor after use. Delamere managed to merge the different facets of his set so perfectly, indeed, that one was almost able to forget he was improvising at all.The closest that Delamere got to structuring his show were the series of placards - entitled, for instance, 'Nurse' or 'Steward' - that he used to explain a situation over the past few months where he rubbed someone up the wrong way. Very funny it most certainly was, delivered with an infectious kind of urgency, and complete with comedy accents and liberal use of swear words but Delamere really showcased his obvious talents during the more improvised sections.
Even the comedian himself seemed to realise this, personally (and genuinely) thanking his unwitting pawns in the audience at the end of the performance. It was a thoughtful gesture, but the loudest applause of the evening was reserved for Delamere himself. He thoroughly deserved it.