Popular Comedian Rob Mulholland | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett
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Popular Comedian Rob Mulholland

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett

Rob Mulholland calls this ‘a serious bit of legitimate theatre’. As he has to, in order to try to secure Arts Council funding. For, as many comedians privately grouse, stand-up is not considered an art form worthy of public finance.

This 29-year-old Yorkshireman is not one to keep his grumbles to himself, however, and the first few minutes are something of a solipsistic complaint about the cheap tricks comedians use, telling tall tales and pretending to be good people when they are not. And he has an especially insistent bee in his bonnet about how the industry is being overrun by the middle and even upper classes, all pretending to be less well-heeled than they are, forcing salt-of-the-earth comics like himself off the market. The class struggle certainly gives Mulholland drive, but how much non-comedians will care is moot.

All this is just preamble, it turns out, for an epic story of a single night out, fuelled by an unexpected windfall. Did Mulholland spend it wisely? Hell no. He and his pal Steve spunked it away – possibly literally - on booze, coke, hookers…. and peculiar Uber rides. 

What follows is an increasingly outlandish tale of misadventure – not that the word quite covers the scrapes the pair get themselves into, as they rub against the seedier elements of the Leeds underclass. In the escalating bleakness of his search for a good time in bad places, Mulholland could be a Yorkshire Irvine Walsh.

The result is more of a storytelling show than out-and-out comedy – maybe it is eligible for that Arts Council grant after all – but Rob Mulholland - Edinburgh Fringe 2017 at Chortle.co.uk">Popular Comedian Rob Mulholland (so titled because ‘it’s my show and I’ll call it what I want’) certainly has its moments of wit as well as drama. 

Mulholland is occasionally a little too quick to reach for the bad-taste imagery but otherwise is an engaging presence, making us emphasise with him even as he makes one drink-and-drug impaired bad decision after another, It’s a yarn we’re glad to experience vicariously, not first-hand. 

And even if the contrived ending isn’t wholly satisfying, it’s a far more enjoyable journey that Mulholland’s trip-of-shame journey back home.

Review date: 7 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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