The Fred MacAulay Show
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Familiar to all in Scotland through his radio show, Fred's been bringing laughter to the Fringe since 1989 and will continue to do so in this, his first full run at Assembly. '
Fred Macaulay is such a legend in Scotland that, to some extent, reviewing him is a redundant exercise. This is the epitome of no frills stand-up comedy, with no pretensions towards anything other than an old-fashioned good-time hour.
In this, Macaulay succeeds with ease. Onstage he is relaxed, good-natured and immensely charismatic, projecting the image of a comedian you would feel comfortable taking your mother to see. When he talks to his audience, it is with a friendly smile, making them a part of his humour rather than a victim of it.
Couple this with a fine understanding of comic timing, and it is obvious why Macaulay olds the entire room in the palm of his hand. He does not even need to move around, staying firmly rooted in the middle of the stage, exuding a captivating charm that more than compensates for any lack of physical presence.
The stories that he tells with this charming comic poise are mostly harmless anecdotes, with an occasionally cheeky underside, about Macaulay’s family or things he has read in the newspaper.
Much of it is also regionally specific, meaning far more to the Scottish majority in his audience that any more distant visitors to the festival. He presents it all as if he just thinks of it – upholding that most magical of stand-up comedy’s illusions – and so his routines are all in the form of stories and anecdotes, rather than any scripted jokes.
None of it is pushing forward the cause of original comedy writing but he never purports to do so. Instead he is devastatingly effective at delivering an evening of unchallenging entertainment.