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Edinburgh Festival review – Seann Walsh

Monday, August 15 2011

A brilliant hour of comedy, despite veering dangerously close to the generic

Seann Walsh

Seann Walsh was always destined to be a quality stand-up, but what type of stand-up wasn't clear. There was the wasted misanthropy of Dylan Moran, a hint of Sean Hughes-y whimsy, some Peter Kay-ish homely nostalgia – and plenty of straight-ahead observational comedy.

His second full-length show, Ying and Young (sic), suggests he's settling into that last option, potentially the most lucrative but also potentially the most generic. He is however, the class act we expected.

What really stands out is the physical aspect of his comedy. Lee Evans springs to mind, only less cartoony, bringing the mundane beautifully to life such as HD slow-mo television and when freeview goes wrong, or people sleeping on the train. I also love the conclusion as to why some missed calls occur.

Like Evans, some of the subject matters up for perusal are a bit predictable, including a fair few drunken stories with obligatory kebab shop/petrol station material. Unlike Evans, Walsh's physical comedy isn't a substitute for a lack of original observations, as the laughs come as much from what he says as what he does. It's partly his eye for detail, partly the understated nature of his punchlines.

He's a punchy presence on stage, wearing sharp suit and cowboy boots, rock n roll haircut and vaguely resembling a English bull terrier. The audience feels completely safe in his hands and even with numerous disruptions and toilet dashes, he never loses their trust, or his flow.

It's impressive stuff: sharp, assured and very funny. I've mentioned a few comics above but he probably levels out at a harder Lee Mack. I only hope his gravitation towards well-worn comedy paths doesn't waste his talent.

4 stars

Seann Walsh – Ying and Young is on at 8.15pm at the Pleasance Courtyard.


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