Alistair Barrie: Obviously
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
In the three years since his last Edinburgh show, Alistair has travelled all over the world worrying about it and writing down the funny bits. So much is so obviously wrong that even Alistair can see it. Like most British people he is hugely concerned by a stupidly hot planet whilst quietly enjoying it. His carbon footprint is a constant niggle, but how else do you headline shows in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and, um, Luxembourg?
Alistair Barrie is an experienced circuit compere, a fact which shines through in his rapid-fire banter with the audience, swiftly putting everyone in their place so he can move on.
Technical problems, drunk Kiwis and his own questionable facial hair – grown for his role in the play Breaker Morant, he explained – are all addressed with ease, assuring us that for the next hour we are in the hands of a professional, albeit one that is obviously busy, given the speed he was talking.
Barrie’s show, Obviously, deals with well-worn and unsurprising subject matter for someone known for their topical material: idiotic Bushisms (despite promising not going to cover these), floods, divorce, public transport… And after listening to some rather cluttered setups you are rewarded with well-crafted punchlines.
Unfortunately it takes a large proportion of the show for Barrie to shake off the nervous energy and pace himself, and it is only at this time that his best material comes out. A hilarious story of London’s night buses followed by an interesting take on Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream…’ speech were good, but it did feel like a 45-minute warm-up to get there.
I am sure that once the pressure of these early shows lifts, Barrie’s solo show will settle in to the reliable hour of pithy insights that you would expect from this experienced performer. But not yet.
Reviewed by: Rosie Carnahan