Greg McHugh: Other People

Note: This review is from 2005

Review by Steve Bennett

This fresh-faced and bright-eyed local lad has a lot going for him. He’s open and gregarious, able to get even a tiny Fringe audience over their understandable self-consciousness so they can relax in his good company.

In fact, relative comedy newcomer Greg McHugh would probably have a decent chance of a career as an upbeat TV presenter – were it not for his uncanny resemblance to Patrick Kielty, who's already got the job.

What he doesn’t have, though is much of a show. The title is supposed to be a reference to the fact it’s easier to blame other people for your shortcomings than take responsibility for them yourself. But I only know that because he told us, you’d never guess from his ramshackle collection of unconnected observational routines.

In fact he mostly talks about himself – although his experiences are so commonplace we can all relate – with barely a mention of anyone else at all.

The tales are all punctuated with extensive conversations with the audience, but what started as an ice-breaker quickly looks like padding. And as time goes on the same good humour that makes him so good at the banter starts looking as a poor disguise for some quite ordinary material.

He tells us of schoolday memories, of signing on and his parents not getting him a dog he wanted. It’s light on gags and keen insight, but he has such a lovely way about him, that it becomes effortlessly easy to listen to.

Things pick up the last ten to 15 minutes, which suggest they come from a club routine he’s mastered, while this, his first hour, is still overambitious. Here the tales, particularly one about driving etiquette, come more meticulous in their detail and he becomes almost like a better-natured Jerry Seinfeld, finding comedy in the minutae.

McHugh is definitely an act to keep a watchful eye on, as he has something of a star quality that could see him succeed. He has stretched himself with an hour, for which he’ll probably reap more rewards than his audiences will – but he dispatches them cheerfully enough into the Edinburgh afternoon.

Review date: 1 Jan 2005
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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