Comedy review: Organ Freeman

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Picking up one of the story threads of his fine 2016 show, Jarlath Regan surpasses it with an hour that reiterates his growing mastery of the storytelling form.

Just the Tonic at the Tron (Venue 51)

****

The Irishman’s US-based older brother has long had issues with his kidneys, so when the comic got a call asking him to fly over and offer him a transplant, it seemed a no-brainer. Not only would this seemingly selfless act absolve him of ever being seen as selfish again, defining him with “sound” status in contrast to the lairy lads he decries wandering the south of England. But the medical tests seemed to suggest it would be a straightforward procedure, albeit with some fun and games at the American doctor’s expense about tolerable quantities of drinking in the UK and Ireland.

There was though, one belated detail to complicate matters, the tiny but significant possibility of Regan dying during the operation.

At 35, he affects to be content with his innings. But he’s also aware of his duties to his wife and six-old son, whose precocious self-confidence causes him no end of amusement. The decision, ultimately, is not his to make alone, with his wife having a much greater appreciation of what’s involved than anyone else.

As Regan notes, his presence on stage is something of a spoiler alert. But only partially, as the real stakes and jeopardies are revealed as his account unfolds, teased out from some deceptively light but skilfully seeded stand-up that confirms Regan’s abilities to move with belly laughs and tears in a single routine.

His empathy, shown to have been lacking in the past, ultimately confirms him as sound, whatever some people’s opinion. Moving, at times hilarious, this show makes a compelling argument for organ donation.