Seann Walsh appeared in front of a sold-out, 336-strong crowd at Pleasance Courtyard’s Beyond, and despite a lot of energy and bravado in his performance, this is a case of a show’s content falling a long way short.
It’s easy to see why Walsh is so instantly likeable: his set is almost entirely based around alcohol and its various recognisable effects, his observations are well set-up and enthusiastically played out, he is very much the gregarious funny man down the pub. However, there’s little attempt to try anything different, to surprise the audience or challenge the accepted order of things, to move past the ‘men do this, women do this’ calibre of stand-up that separates the great from the conventional. Walsh’s set could have been performed by any number of his Live at the Apollo contemporaries.
As mentioned, the vast majority of the hour is spent discussing going out drinking and waking up hungover, and you could be forgiven for assuming this is the only thing Walsh finds worthy of considered thought. Yet, when he does push himself to a second tier of observation - as when he compares puking in a sink to leaving rubbish on a windowsill in a train station, because it’s the height of the mess that makes it okay - he exhibits some real skill for observation. However, Almost any time a simple response is available, it’s taken. It’s noticeable also that when Walsh discusses improving your life or changing how you think, he puts on the same camp voice he uses when impersonating women and gay men; anything outside of his own experience seems equally worthy of disdain.
The Fringe sees Walsh in the middle of a five-month UK tour; he is clearly on his way toward big things and selling out a theatre that big in the middle of August is no mean feat. If you’ve come to the festival to hear something new and exciting, however, Seann to be Wild is simply not the place to find it.