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Andrew Bird's Village Fete

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

This is a competent stand-up performing a competent hour of stand-up, quite competently. But in a festival where his colleagues are ambitiously pushing for the very best show they can, Andrew Bird seems like he’s treading water, just doing a long version of a reasonably entertaining club set that will be largely forgotten by the time you get to the foot of the stairs.

The theme is supposed to be that Bird, who was born in the countryside but has long lived in London, has returned to rural life now he has a child on the way. It seems this has been inspired by one good joke he has about the ‘drive carefully through our village’ signs, as there’s not really much to back it up.

On-topic he chats a bit about shows he’s done in village halls near his new Northamptonshire home, while affectionately mocking the parish newsletter for being, well, parochial. As targets go, it’s a pretty easy one.

Off-topic, there’s lightweight material about the killing of Bin Laden or about how unlikely it is that ‘sex addiction’ is a real condition; a piece that does nothing to advance the pool of comic material that’s been around since Michael Douglas claimed he was suffering from it back in 1990.

And you can feel the inspiration barrel getting scraped when he tries to get irked about a phrase used in cookery books requiring a ‘thumb-sized piece of ginger’ – despite it being an expression no one in the room has previously heard, and surely not a thing to ever get upset or confused by. This smacks of a desperate comic prowling the house looking to mock anything he can in the quest for material. Unfortunately, his best piece observational routine, about low-tech solutions to malfunctioning technology, is very similar to a piece Seann Walsh has. And even more unfortunately for Bird, I happened to see Walsh first.

Bird’s an amicable ‘bloke down the pub’ chatting away, with reasonably entertaining stories about childhood camping holidays or bizarre pub fights. But it’s all very workaday, lacking any ambition. As such, it’s impossible to hate – but just as impossible to love, so mild is its flavour. I’d recommend taking a different ticket in the tombola of Edinburgh.

Review date: 10 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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