NEIL DELAMERE: BOOKMARKS
ASSEMBLY @ GEORGE STREET (VENUE 3)
THE couple next to me had come to the Fringe hoping to see Rhod Gilbert, couldn't get a ticket, so took a punt on Neil Delamere. Given their reaction to this show, next year Gilbert moves to option status.
They laughed like a hyena's drains.
Delamere doesn't do props, he doesn't bring dancers – he just brings a proper set and his engaging presence. For this is a fella who truly loves life. Whether he's telling us about popping his cherry while being gobbled up by a sofa, or a hot air balloon flight meant to cure his fear of heights, Delamere knows how to selI a story.
It's too easy to invoke the Blarney Stone here; yes, Delamere is Irish but I suspect he'd be as brilliant wherever he hailed from. The cultural references would be different but the guiding intelligence would be the same. He'd still see not only the funny side of life, but be able to make the less obviously amusing hilarious.
Simply put, Delamere is a master. His likeability draws us in and we're soon hanging on his every word and gesture. And refreshingly, there's no cruelty in his observational comedy. When he mentions that a woman was 20 stone, it's matter-of-fact, pertinent to the story. When he makes a joke about something a punter has told him, they're in on the laugh.
Best of all, Delamere is not one of those comics to bring a half hour's material to an hour-long slot and hope the audience will fill the rest of the time. The man has gags to spare. When he has spent a couple of minutes chatting to an audience member you can count on Delamere to crank up his delivery to make sure he still gets everything in. This isn't a show where you leave feeling short-changed.
The Fringe loves themes. If a show isn't about training shoes or dead pets, it's nowheresville. Delamere has a theme – life's bookmarks, the rites of passage. Hence the 'losing virginity' story, hitting 30 and so on. That's a bit of a macguffin. What he really has is a huge fund of weird things that have happened to him which he's cleverly pared down into a themed show. Don't ponder the bookmark business, just come along for one of the funniest hours you'll have this year.
Until 30 August. Today 8:50pm.