Michael Smiley – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

As an icebreaker, Michael Smiley trots out the now-standard line for Northern Irish comedians, reminiscing about the days of the Republican terrorists who at least had the good grace to phone ahead with their murderous threats.

But once this rather ordinary fare is dispensed with, this mutedly cheeky 46-year-old moves on to the meat of his set: evocative stories of his upbringing in working-class Belfast. His skilful descriptions give the anecdotes a strong sense of place and time, but almost anyone will be able to relate to his tales of an uncommunicative Dad and daft but well-meaning Mum.

The personal experiences continue as he delves into his own fatherhood, and the joys of witnessing his own children go through puberty. Granted, this is essentially flimsy excuse for a wanking gag – but it is surprisingly classily done.

Smiley’s confident delivery is just a little too laid-back and low-key to raise the roof, but he’s cordial company with fine storytelling skills and enough affectionately witty material - albeit rarely updated – to leave a warm glow.

Review date: 12 Mar 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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