Vladimir McTavish: Scotland In Sixty Minutes

Scottish comedian and Fringe veteran McTavish has celebrated his 60th birthday this year, and has therefore adopted a more ponderous and docile approach in his set, instead of dedicating it exclusively to politics as he has done in previous years. Instead, he talks about Scotland and its idiosyncrasies, after using his free senior citizen bus pass to visit large parts of the country, some of which are rather off the beaten track. He also sneaks in a good section on the Scottish Independence Referendum, and speaks about Scotland’s love of creating tourist attractions where they are unneeded.

Parts of the set whizz past, with some cracking one-liners and well-articulated truisms about Scotland

McTavish is utterly charming and has a gentle, very Scottish sense of humour, at once self-deprecating and poking fun at fellow Scots (Aberdonians and Ardrossen, the ferry port to get to the Isle of Arran, suffer most in particular). His jokes are not excessively rude or excessively offensive, but instead remain in safe and well-trodden territory, gaining a good giggle from the audience, which is made up of a range of ages. McTavish is prone to being a little bit too self-deprecating in his jokes, questioning the audience’s desire to attend, which is unnecessary; he could afford to blow his own trumpet more. He also fails to liven up the room, although does engage the audience nicely from time to time, although this seems more out of habit than genuine interest.

Parts of the set whizz past, with some cracking one-liners and well-articulated truisms about Scotland. Other parts dragged a little bit more, especially when talking about standing stones and Drinking, a subject that’s just exhausted at the Edinburgh Fringe. None of his material is wildly cutting edge, but instead McTavish possesses a harmless, cheeky and good-spirited sense of humour. He seems a little out of touch with the younger folk, but that’s ok too. For a flavour of Scottish humour and charm at a festival otherwise saturated with Londoners performing to Londoners with jokes about London (why do this in Scotland, one sometimes wonders?), McTavish is a safe and often enjoyable choice. His cultural insights, though often unoriginal, are spot-on.

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The Blurb

Vladimir McTavish turned 60 in 2016. For many, this is a time in life for sober reflection or for ticking off items from the bucket list. Instead, McTavish decided to take advantage of his free bus pass to embark on a three month tour of cities and small towns of Scotland, in search of the quirks that make up our nation’s psyche. A hilarious hour-long account of that trek from Gretna to Thurso and beyond in a quest to find the essential Scotland. ‘One of the finest acts on the Scottish comedy circuit’ (Guardian).

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