Comedy review: Andrew Maxwell: That’s The Spirit, Assembly George Square (Venue 3), Edinburgh

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LAST year’s Fringe was a storming return to form for Andrew Maxwell, and he retains his clear-sighted analysis of recent events and puckish wit for this enjoyable, less focused hour.

Andrew Maxwell: That’s The Spirit

Assembly George Square (Venue 3)

Star rating: * * *

Unlike many of his peers, he feels obliged to wade into topical issues surrounding the credit crunch, gay marriage and the Olympics’ class friction, even as he acknowledges he has no real conception of why the Greek economy is so pivotal.

With his lightly worn intelligence and bold articulacy, Maxwell can afford to be modest and make seemingly extreme statements and exaggerations for comic effect, then win you round to his way of thinking with logical argument and persuasive metaphor. A head versus heart dilemma, Scotland’s potential breakaway is envisioned as a messy divorce, and Maxwell brilliantly captures the emotional reconnection such a sundering could prompt.

Towards the end, he regales us with tales from his forthcoming BBC documentary on conspiracy theories. Drolly persuasive on how every crackpot notion of a cover-up has anti-Semitism at its core, he’s less revelatory on the convictions of redneck America in gay marriage’s abhorrence. Collectively, 
these routines feel like bits 
of different shows and don’t quite add up to the sum of their parts.

• Until 27 August. Today 9:05pm.