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It's Not Father Stone - It's...Michael Redmond

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

The comedian clambers into the front row, delivering material as he lies awkwardly across their laps; moments later he’s suspended upside-down by a bodybuilder in the crowd, before causing a frisson of tension as he flirts dangerously close to breaking the law. This must be one of the hot young comics pushing boundaries at Late N Live, right?

Wrong. It’s a 59-year-old man with a face that looks like it’s run in the wash, performing in a broom closet at five o’clock in the afternoon. Anarchy can be found anywhere at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Father Ted actor Michael Redmond has a reputation for lugubrious one-liners – most famously the one squeaky-voiced thief Joe Pasquale shamelessly stole: ‘People often say to me... "Hey you, get out of my garden."’ But his time as a long-running compere at The Stand in Glasgow has clearly transformed his deadpan style, as this hour is largely built on casual exchanges with the modest audience.

Describing comedians as being just like your mate down the pub is something of a cliché, but this is an atmosphere so unprepossessingly cordial, punters feel happy to chip in whenever they like, and Redmond is happy to humour them. Thus we get taken to spontaneous discussions about the geography of Azerbaijan, the right hair products for Redmond’s barnet and discussions about what sounds like the worst beach in Ireland.

This free-form banter is necessarily hit and miss, but it’s so genuinely friendly natural, that the laughs do come. Occasionally, and when he’s permitted to, Redmond remembers he really ought to be doing material, which is always affable and sporadically peerless. For example, he can condense an entire chapter of Dawkins into one pithy gag: ‘I was born a Catholic, which came as a surprise to my parents, who were Protestant.’

His flirtation with criminality came by almost lighting a cigarette on stage, but other prepared segments are flatter, without the comic invention of his best material. Nonetheless, this is a uniquely odd hour in the company of a man not afraid to busk it when the need arises.

Review date: 20 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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