Andrew Maxwell DVD review

Conflict Revolution/Live In Edinburgh 2008

A documentary that might normally be used as a DVD extra has been elevated to co-star billing in Andrew Maxwell’s new release.

And it’s easy to see why, as the 40-minute film Conflict Revolution charts the boisterous Dubliner making good on a drunken promise: that he would perform two gigs in West Belfast in one night, one each side of the sectarian divide.

It formed the central plank of his Edinburgh show this year, which forms the other part of this DVD double-bill, since it’s clearly an experience that’s given him plenty to talk about.

There is a offputtingly self-important tone to the way he sets up the gigs on the Falls and the Shankill Roads. ‘Armed only with jokes, I want to bring these walls down,’ he says pompously of his ‘one-clown revolution’. But he does at least follow up his braggadocio with action, and indeed becomes the first comedian to play these intimidating gigs.

You may not end up watching this documentary again and again, but since it was only originally screened on BBC Northern Ireland, it’s the only chance those of us on the mainland will see his understandable fretting over how to play these difficult gigs at all.

As for the main feature, it’s a very straightforward shooting of his Supernatural Edinburgh show, whose strength lies in Maxwell’s innate talents as an engaging raconteur. As well as the West Belfast tale, his accounts of trying to have his Johnny Cash moment in Dublin’s high security Mountjoy prison or his encounter with homophobic rednecks in Los Angeles are cheerily entertaining.

Again the moralising sometimes threatens to overwhelm, but that’s countered by his cheeky affability and natural wit which brings the focus back on to the funnies.

Sample joke:‘Ryanair sells booze in plastic bags. Little boozy bags, like a colostopmy bag of booze... If you're buying spirits on a 45-minute flight, deep down you know you might have a little bit of a drinkie problem. But at least on a normal airline it comes in a miniature, so at least you can distract yourself by pretending you're a giant.’
No clips available
Extras: None
Recorded at: The Pleasance, Edinburgh
To buy:

Main show running time: 56 mins + 38 mins
Certificate: 15

Release date: December 5 , 2008

RRP: £15.99

Published: 23 Dec 2008

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