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Vladimir McTavish

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Julian Hall

A man sings a mournful song to 13 listless audience members. This is the less than glorious ending to Vladimir McTavish’s show about whisky. It’s rather a pity as in wee dram doses the Fringe regular warms the comedy palate but, ultimately, the show is a bit of a malty mess.

  The premise is fully – and unsurprisingly - supported by The Scottish Whisky Experience, the Edinburgh tourist attraction, which has left leaflets on the seats. A designated drinker is chosen for tastings but they become as stretched out as the theme, which is used to hang a few so-so anecdotes and observations that include such hackneyed delights as asking how camera crews get to remote areas supposedly cut off by snow?

  The most nourishing parts of the show are the sections that describe whisky history, for example prohibition in the first half the 20th century, but the goodwill and bonhomie towards the actual comedy content, that were earned in the first ten or 15 minutes of the show, gradually flow away, disappearing altogether in his one-man play inspired by Ian Rankin’s pub-dwellling Rebus creation.

  This debacle highlights one of the big problems of the set: that McTavish (real name Paul Sneddon) chokes off his lines. Yes, he has air conditioning to compete with (and on another housekeeping note he should turn his projector light off when not showing a slide) but this cacophony doesn’t excuse him for perhaps not having the confidence in his material or ebullience behind it. More Dutch courage required perhaps?

Review date: 12 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Julian Hall

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