Comedy Review: Ari Eldjárn: Eagle Fire Iron, Monkey Barrel Comedy (Venue 515), Edinburgh

Deriving his show title from the direct meaning of his name, Icelandic comic Ari Eldjárn's return to Edinburgh is an immediately appealing guide to his homeland, filtered though personal tales and relatable observational humour.



Touring internationally, the likeable stand-up has developed strong routines on such universal conundrums as why men and women's bikes have developed different frames.

But he's no soulless hack.

Portraying his country as the land of bumbling amateurs and parochial can-do spirit, he gets tremendous mileage out of finding culture clashes.

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And sometimes they find him. Accompanying an official Icelandic delegation to Stockholm as representative of his nation's talent, Eldjárn found himself bamboozled by all the royal pomp and ceremony, though no more so than the Icelandic president and civil servants he was with, their ad-libbed attempts to ingratiate farcical in the retelling.

Americans find their relaxed attitude towards child supervision and airport security particularly troubling.

And Eldjárn offers a hilarious account of Hilary Clinton's security detail giving the preparations for her visit to Reykjavik the once over, the nods and winks of surveillance culture inspiring a complete missing of minds.

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With a population of just over 300,000 for a nation state, it's hardly surprising that corners are cut, roles are amalgamated and competitive capitalism is relative, with Eldjárn delighting and inspired by the pointlessness of milk monopoly advertising.

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Icelandic timekeeping is casual compared to that of the Danes and Germans, while the language of the latter, and specifically its specificity, is mocked for its disservice to florid romance.

Throughout, Eldjárn casts himself as winging life as much as anyone, a stumbling new father whose distance running struggles are cast into unfavourable relief by his pregnant wife's literal labours. As straightforwardly enjoyable and undemanding an hour of stand-up as you'll find at the Fringe.

Until 25 August

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