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Alistair Green: Outpatient

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Phill Gillespie

Alistair Green is infectious, but thankfully just in a comedic way.

Making his full Edinburgh debut, Green goes with an old school stand-up stage - a large spotlight circling around his slim figure as he steps forwards and backwards centre stage, not needing to run around or spend time chatting with his audience. There is almost a voyeuristic atmosphere created in this dark cave-like room as the clinically bright spotlight engulfs him and we listen to his medical history.

Last year Green discovered, out of nowhere, that he was suffering from a potentially life threatening auto-immune disease. The problem with his kidneys naturally caused serious concern for Green, with doctors talking about dialysis or even transplant. It's not the typical comedy gold-mine normally chosen to try and entertain an early afternoon crowd in your first hour show, but Green makes it work well.

He takes us on a journey from his surprise diagnosis, various tests and specialists, through to waiting for results and ultimately his celebration of getting the all-clear. There are some less original subjects touched on, including hospital food and traveller's diarrhoea, but these are the sub-plots to support his main routine which operates on a higher level. Throughout his set he gently steps between enlightening medical stories and smart gags, with the audience never knowing on which side of that line we are currently on.

Green is a quiet man, favouring softly spoken set-ups that deliver inversely-proportional laughs. His well-paced material is engaging and keeps the audience listening with intrigue. Green deftly crafts some well-disguised gags, sometimes just needing an intentionally half-finished line to get the audience to realise the big punchline. There are some creative callbacks too as he builds to a very funny finale.

In short Green clearly has all the skills to go far. With intelligent and subtle gags, and a gentle delivery that sets him apart from many other comics, the prognosis for Alistair Green is very bright.

Review date: 15 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Phill Gillespie

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