Nick Revell: Bare Bones

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

Nick Revell has been out of stand-up longer than most Fringe comics have been in it.

A respected headliner from the earlier years of the alternative scene, he quit live performance a decade ago, with an acclaimed radio series to his name, before he had any chance to get bigger.

Now he's starting back on circuit, and back in Edinburgh, with a low-key show in a tiny room, espousing his political comedy to a small but discerning audience.

He's not one of the hectoring type of politicos, though; Revell prefers to make his points with a carefully underplayed confidence. He is an animated, engaging raconteur offering a masterclass in delivery, with variety in pace, volume and rhythm that keeps an already attentive audience transfixed.

The material is intelligent and wide-ranging, featuring everything from teenage pub fights to French renaissance satirists.

Not everything is political, one of the best routines deconstructs the magic of the dawn chorus, but a social conscious is usually not far away. And the closing segment, about how his own liberal sensibilities conflict with both reality and his middle-class values is a classy piece indeed.

Yet too often the set is more clever than funny, with well-made points greeted by knowing smiles rather than raucous laughter. With a less forgiving timeslot, venue or audience, he would have more of a struggle on his hands.

But as things stand, this would serve well as a warm and witty aperitif to an evening of punchier, funnier comedy elsewhere in the festival city.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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