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Jimmy McGhie's Northern Meeting

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

As the Scottish members of the audience – and there are still a few around among at the festival – will know, the Northern Meeting is a huge party of the lairds; a 300-year-old celebration of tartan, pipers, reels and poshness. For someone who hates parties, like Fringe debutante Jimmy McGhie, this was the worst of his nightmares.

But while the sensitive McGhie might profess to hate that sort of social interaction, in the one-to-many set-up of a comedy show, he seems very much at home, with an easy charm and appealingly relaxed manner. Combine that with his quirky good looks, and you could easily see this personable 29-year-old presenting on a youth-skewed digital TV channel.

As a stand-up, he proves an adept storyteller, using the story of his Scottish big night out as a framework on which to hang stories of his relationships and opinionated observations, without ever seeming he’s deviating from his main thrust.

There, is, however a chunk of filler in the hour: his sarcastic description of a middle-class Sunday morning, all Observer supplements and trips to Ikea, doesn’t add much to a well-covered subject; nor does his overlong discussion of the too-easy availability of internet pornography, and his confessions of how this has numbed him to the joys of real-life physical contact.

Elsewhere, though, the stories of his insecurities prove entertaining: from his unwillingness to dance to his jealousy of the buff alpha-male who taught him and his girlfriend how to dive. He can have a delightful turn of phrase – crossing the naïve with the cynical – but sometimes he doesn’t even need to employ it: the email exchange he shares between the terrifyingly posh lads planning a skiing weekend is unintentionally hilarious on its own, and proves a delightful set piece.

Even though it’s a 40-minute tale spun out to 60, Jimmy McGhie’s Northern Meeting is a confidently solid debut from an instantly likeable stand-up.

Review date: 9 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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