Comedy review: Uncles

Burnistoun creators Robert Florence and Iain Connell
Burnistoun creators Robert Florence and Iain Connell
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THE latest venture from Burnistoun creators Robert Florence and Iain Connell, Uncles is already displaying the potential to eclipse their frequently great BBC Scotland sketch show. In this far leaner endeavour, the two play a couple of nameless Glaswegians on the cusp of middle-age, simply catching up and setting the world to rights in their local pub, their only props their drinks, a table and chairs. Redolent of Derek and Clive or the Smith and Jones head-to-heads, with perhaps an occasional dash of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse as the fuming Self-Righteous Brothers, Uncles relies on and revels in patter for patter’s sake, and is jammed full of lines to savour.

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Since the show debuted at last year’s Glasgow Comedy Festival, the script has been tightened, the stories are more varied and they’ve been updated with musings about Donald Trump and, er, Henry VIII. Trump’s uninhibited behaviour and rise to power feel almost incidental though, simply the most recent example to hand for Connell fantasising out loud about a mid-life crisis.

The pair’s tales are familiar enough – visiting confession, a son’s school open day or a museum, even attending a gangster’s wedding – and remain relatable and rooted in emotional truth, even as their imaginations run wild or they recall escalations of extreme fury or sexual desperation, with Florence offering a tour-de-force account of his character’s misadventures with Viagra. Essentially, Uncles feels like eavesdropping on countless hours of bar bravado, self-aware bullshit and pent-up desperation, but edited down to the entertaining highlights. An adaptation for late-night radio surely beckons.

JAY RICHARDSON