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Aidan Bishop: Adaptable

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Julia Chamberlain

The strapline on the poster is: ‘The times they are a-changing, but can Aidan adapt?’ but this show is not really overburdened by a theme.  Bishop is an exceedingly youthful 30 years old and took the stance of  the bemused older guy, mystified by the customs of his 20-year-old girlfriend, an ‘I don’t get these young folks’ notion that’s a bit ridiculous at his stage in life.  

It’s an opportunity to have a bit of a beef about the non-communication that is emoticons, Twitter, Facebook and the ludicrousness  of status updates, the irritating insincerity of using a ‘smiley face’ which becomes demonstrably sinister insincere rictus if applied in real life.

The strong points of this show, as so often, were the personalised bits: growing up in Queens, New York, getting this dumb accent, having an American mom who out-Irished the Irish. He seemed disconcerted by recognising his entire audience, staring over and past us most of the time and then actually getting laughs from breaking the fourth wall and passing a remark on someone in the room.

He  visibly relaxed when stepping out of the performance, getting a drink  and making eye contact.  But for a much of this short set, hitting round about the 45-minute mark, he had a slightly forced, unnatural delivery, punctuating his sentences with a sarcastic giggle, or a street-sounding ‘Yeah’ which may have been for emphasis or just a nervous verbal tic. He did seem dreadfully uncomfortable.

The problem was that there was not enough material here for a show, and he knew it and it gave him considerable stress to offer an extended set of stuff he wasn’t perfectly happy with.  Some routines were unnecessarily drawn out, but with rather pointlessly short sound cues, as if to differentiate this as an Edinburgh show rather than a club set, and the shoddy illustrative material was the equivalent of having done homework on the bus, thinking it’s better to offer something rather than nothing at all. 

In this case he should have taken the pressure off himself and done a show next year, once he’d worked out what he wanted to say.

Review date: 25 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain

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