Comedy review: Happyness at Hoots

Aisling Bea was nominations for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Aisling Bea was nominations for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

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A RECENT survey claiming Inverness is the second happiest place to live in the UK seemed to taunt the comics visiting from London, with Gordon Southern bemoaning estate agent euphemisms for his “lively” home of Brixton.

Happyness at Hoots - Mad Hatters @ Hootananny, Inverness

***

With Scottish parents of mixed religion who casually lied to him as a child for an easy life, the compere waggishly lamented his mildly dysfunctional upbringing as responsible for him becoming a comedian.

Aisling Bea, similarly, painted a tragic picture of herself in the English capital, a hermit gorging on novelty chocolate, unable to interact socially without pawing at people like updates on her phone. Citing her rural Irish childhood as formative for her scatter-gun, chatty style, this was a disordered set from Bea. But it was carried by her breezy, take-me-as-I-am personality, as she unveiled a great visual table tennis gag and belatedly acknowledged her sartorial eccentricity. Brazening out a traxedo, part-tracksuit, part-tuxedo, the bizarre garb didn’t really justify the routine around it.

A scientist by trade, Hari Sriskantha is still testing and refining his material, calibrating his obvious intelligence and wit into a set as uniformly strong as his best observations. Showcasing an appealing pedantry towards pop culture and homoeopathic quackery in a dry, dismissive manner, he fluffed the occasional set-up but capably ad-libbed around his mistakes, confirming that he’s one of the more promising new comics to have emerged from Scotland.

“Big Glaswegian poof” Scott Agnew is considerably longer in the tooth. But his simmering, increasingly dyspeptic outlook suits him, colouring his assured storytelling with an unpredictable cocktail of charm, bitterness and menace.

Seen on 23.05.14

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