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Des Clarke: Destiny
Scotland's finest, Des Clarke, returns to the Edinburgh Festival with a brand new show Destiny, a show about where we are and where we are all going. My Destiny, Your destiny, our destiny, Scotland’s destiny, The world’s destiny… Is there anything we can do to shape our own destiny?
Rocket-fuelled Des Clarke really lights up a stage. His trademark million-mile-an-hour delivery is energising for the audience and the show stops before they’re exhausted. If you were paying for words per minute, this probably would take the prize for best value.
As he points out, he is that rare phenomenon a Scot doing the Fringe. The traditional audience survey of ‘who’s from where?’ allows him to demonstrate his lightning-fast responses to Scottish stereotyping . He said himself, it’s a hack thing to do, but not in his hands. His fresh and energetic attitude makes everything seem new-minted.
This is a good solid hour of no-frills stand up, without gimmicks. He barely seems to draw breath, allowing the odd gaffe to come out in the reedy, piping voice of a squinty-eyed simpleton.
The show is called Destiny, and Clarke very loosely ties his own to that of Scotland, wondering why the biggest thing to happen to Scotland, in a gazillion years, to place it on the world ma,p was the terrorist attack on Glasgow airport.
The hero of the moment, John Smeaton the baggage handler who went for the burning wannabomber snatched Des’s destiny. It could have, should have been him, scheduled to be passing through departures at that time. It should have been him on CNN, with his own translator.
However, this is just the peg on which the show hangs very loosely, it’s not a politics show, nor is it a introspective look on his life. Just rattling good fun, taking in recent events (bombing, BBC phone-in difficulties) and some personal stories and fortune telling.
I’m sure every Scottish comic loathes a comparison with Billy Connolly, but Des Clarke’s notes on his family, school bullying and are up there with the Big Yin’s tales of coats on the bed instead of blankets. Very enjoyable
Reviewed by: Julian Chambers
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