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Neil Delamere – Edinburgh Festival review
Irish stand-up Neil Delamere turns in an undemanding but crowd-pleasing show
If it doesn't bother you that DelaMere Mortal (ugh) feels like a production line Edinburgh show, it's well worth a look. Delamere is a consummate stand-up, utterly relaxed on stage and a natural at audience interaction (a strength he plays to tonight by having large sections of unthreatening crowd-work). Putting an audience immediately at ease is a great skill and he is a master at it.
If anything, this is a show that dwells too cosily inside its comfort zone. From the Edinburgh anecdote that kick things off, to the theme of "man trying to come to terms with adulthood/looking back to childhood", my over-riding reaction to DelaMere Mortal was to crave originality.
Not that it's not effective. He's an expert anecdote-teller, the gag rate is high, he possesses a quick wit, and he has fun with the theme. Delamere was on a schoolchildren's TV quiz show called Blackboard Jungle when he was 16, and he has dug out this footage (which makes for some easy laughs) in order to pit adult Neil against child Neil, to see who's the best.
That gives him the room to deliver material on how he winds up his neighbour about a parking space, and a bit of shameless nostalgia about Walkmans. Delamere's ending is a lovely idea and a proper finalé, although it's accompanied by some heavy-handed and unnecessary binding together of other references, as if he's not so much performing a show as casting off a scarf.
An undemanding but crowd-pleasing show.
Review written by Paul Fleckney