I’ve rarely seen a more brilliant opening to a show or a more uncomfortable ending.
Frank Skinner Live, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh * * *
Skinner is a well-known face, a much loved TV personality and a millionaire. He kicks off with an absolutely hilarious showbiz story about Bruce Forsyth. His delivery is effortless, his pace and rhythm are perfect, his interactions with the audience are charming and unforced. He has us spellbound, thrilled. We are in the palm of his hand.
But ten minutes before the end he mentions benefit cheats. Apparently lots of people with crutches are just faking it.
No Frank No.
You can feel the atmosphere dropping like air escaping out of a balloon. When the newspapers carry daily reports of disabled people dying this is simply not OK. Suddenly the man on stage is not a working class boy made good but an out of touch showbiz millionaire who finds out about poverty by watching television.
He tries to rescue himself by telling a disgusting story about his way of eating eggs and an even more disgusting story about his toilet habits but it is too late. We have hurtled back to the comedy of the 1970s. It is back to the bad old days.