Stuart Goldsmith: An Hour | Review by Steve Bennett
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Stuart Goldsmith: An Hour

Note: This review is from 2015

Review by Steve Bennett

Stuart Goldsmith’s been coming to the Fringe for 21 years, first as street performer, now as a comic, and latterly as acclaimed podcast host, too. And maybe something’s rubbed off from chatting to all those colleagues for his Comedian’s Comedian interviews, for this show marks a noticeable step up in his abilities.

He’s long been an assured, likeable comic, but he’s now brought a bit more insight and self-knowledge to his everyday tales, as well as a more efficient writing that sneaks in nifty extra gags.

His laid-back, but in control, style makes it look easy, though there’s a choreography to both his words and deeds; sitting for a second to change the dynamic towards the more pensive, otherwise becoming animated when enthused.

There’s an inadvertent gag even in the title of the show. An Hour actually runs for only 55 minutes, due to the vagaries of Fringe scheduling. Still, the name is so generic he can just do his routines, not be beholden to the idea of a meta-narrative that he thinks comedians have to deploy to get noticed at this festival.

He’s not one for pretensions, but although he remains Mr Nice Guy, Goldsmith has injected a shade of attitude into his sharp descriptions of hipster beards or smug marathon-runners. A keen eye helps form wonderfully descriptive phrases for something as minor as a barista’s work, or something more universally acknowledged, such as the ‘beer armour’ that protects you from pain on a night out.

Goldsmith knows, too, what buttons to press to tease an audience – a sacrilegious line against whisky prompts more offence amid a couple of old-time Scots that the worst Frankie Boyle could ever say.

The show is not all outward-looking, however, as a key story involves a trip he took to Thailand shortly after a relationship breakdown – a solo holiday he should have gone on with his now ex… but instead all he has is trashy Jack Reacher thriller novels for company.

And wouldn’t you know it, that despite his protestations, there’s something of a meta-narrative to his apparently unlinked hour, too, when it comes to discussing dementia, inspired by his 97-year-old granny, and an experimental village where sufferers live.

It provides a nice sign-off for a show that would have operated perfectly well without it, given the underplayed high quality of Goldsmith’s various routines… but serves as a cherry on the top of a very satisfying cake.

Review date: 30 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: PBH's Free Fringe @ Canons' Gait

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