Paul McCaffrey: Pills'n'Thrills and Belly Laughs

Paul McCaffrey seems less like a performer and more like a mate in a pub. Though distinctly a routine, his stories of music festivals and run-ins with the council would not be out of place in amongst a group of friends. As a result, far from being the cosiest gig, a distinctly intimate and friendly atmosphere was created. The side effect of this is that you can’t help but think you would rather chat to Paul (he feels too chummy to use his surname) in a pub over a drink rather than sit through an hour set piece.

The opening gambit of the act felt dated. Talk of Cee-Lo Green’s F*ck You as if people hadn’t yet come across it in some way implies that his routine is quite old. The majority of the routine, too, feels niche: based predominantly around music festivals, his observations are not immediately accessible to everyone. Nevertheless, his open and engaging manner ensures that there is no alienation.

The trouble is that there is little to say either way about Paul’s performance. On the one hand he is likable and his storytelling is strong, but there is little in the way of sparkle or indeed any stand-out elements. This is not to say that the set is poor - his material and delivery is superior to many - only that nobody should expect to leave with a hernia.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

You can take the boy out of Glastonbury... Paul reunites his mates at a festival. What could possibly go wrong? 'Charisma and success written all over him' (Evening Standard).

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