Danny Bhoy: By The Way
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
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Danny Bhoy seems to have taken to heart criticisms that he’s not an ‘edgy’ or ‘risky’ comedian. It’s true that he’s not – nor is ever likely to be – but no one should underestimate the considerable skills he employs as a conversational, observational, storyteller.
He has a couple of goes at showing a harder-edge, but he can’t pull it off: ‘Not dangerous?’ he counters triumphantly after one reference to priests being paedophiles. No, Danny, not really… But it doesn’t matter.
The montage of famously defiant real-life heroes that closes his show demonstrates that true, life-on-the-line bravery is a far cry from almost anything a comedian can do on stage, putting into stark context the fact that those stand-ups who are hailed as fearless are a far cry from the real deal.
The ebullient Scotsman has seen his share of stubborn rebellion, though, even if it didn’t have the quite the same global impact of blocking a tank in Tiananmen Square. As a youngster, he remembers his mother having a row with BT that ended up in a bizarre protest involving a goat. And he has expressed his frustration at the seemingly petty regulations about taking liquids on to planes with a petulant – borderline mental breakdown – display at the security gate.
These tales are told with his boy-next-door charm and lashings of easy wit. Bhoy is one of the most casual yet focussed comics around, performing without visible microphone, hands on hips or gesticulating carefully to draw audiences into his engaging, skilfully-told stories.
There are some great jokes in the hour, too, such as his take on too-tight hotel bedclothes, or the machinations of the Italian parliament. This is his eighth solo show, and he shows no sign of running out of ideas – well, except for a rather obvious, albeit well put-togethe, mock Scottish tourist board promo film that opens the show, with predictable gags about haggis, bagpipes and rain. Still, it’ll make a diverting DVD extra.
But when he sticks to the stand-up, Bhoy shows off all his skills as a classy, fluid raconteur who may lack that killer punch, but remains endlessly entertaining nonetheless.
Reviewed By: Steve Bennett