Micky Bartlett: I'm Not Even Sorry | Review by Steve Bennett
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Micky Bartlett: I'm Not Even Sorry

Review by Steve Bennett

In a free venue in an afternoon slot, Micky Bartlett makes his solo Fringe debut with his first big TV break already under his belt, being a regular on a BBC One panel slow. But since Monumental only goes out in Northern Ireland, this affable twentysomething has got work to do cracking the rest of the country.

On the strength of this impressive performance, it won’t take him long.

Bartlett is a stand-up natural with a great command of the audience and engaging everyman approach, full of verve. He has a bulletproof club style, but with some great, original tales and an masterful ways of delivering with punch and style.

He does make the odd slip into bad habits that don’t sit so well in the artsier expectations of a festival show, such as ribbing a guy for his loud shirt; playing up the stereotype that he’s from the scary side of Ireland with the terrifying accent, not the charming ‘top o’the morning’ side; and making a lot of the boozing-and-kebab ‘culture’.

The blokeishness also makes incursions into some of the more sexual material, about lube and foreplay, that occasionally slides into the gratuitous, but overall comes from a place of personal inadequacy, as do the tales of drink, which softens the tone.

His great strength is in real-life stories, which have more than a touch of the Billy Connolly in the joyously spirited way he tells them, with punchlines genuinely coming from left-field. He’ll amusingly set out some scene, such as the childhood terror of seeing his grandfather’s corpse being laid out before his funeral, then with the audience in the audience in the palm of his hand, take them on a descriptive journey, before suddenly veering off course for a devastating pay-off.

It’s the same with another story of a flight. We enjoy him laying into a fellow passenger who’s annoying him – and Bartlett can be pretty brutal with language when he needs to be – and then bang! It ends how you wouldn’t expect. Not every story is so unexpected, but even then there’s much to enjoy on the scenic ride through them, as Bartlett finds the humour in the details, too.

This is a strong display of mainstream, straightforward stand-up; not reinventing the wheel, but steering it well.

Review date: 13 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Cowgatehead

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