Comedy review: Tommy Tiernan: Under the Influence

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: A feral philosopher king, roaming the windswept hinterlands of his imagination, roaring at the magnificence of existence, Tommy Tiernan affects the timeless wisdom of a sage as he stalks his stage.

Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)

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Yet in a more intimate moment, he admits that he’s as uncertain of his opinions as any of us, buffeted and bewildered by the winds of change, the lusty power of his performance dictated not by the strength of his convictions but his incredulity, pleading, despairing, yelling for understanding.

Tender as he considers the sensual beauty of a cow, bewitched with wonder contemplating the existential origins of the word “Yahweh”, he nevertheless explodes with disbelief that Ireland, so mired in so much of its past, could elect a gay prime minister.

This, after all, is a country seeking to reintroduce rural drink driving, inspiring a hilarious act out of two geriatric inebriates alternately crashing into each other, no harm done. Exploring Ireland’s abortion debate from all sides, he takes none, except that of a parent persecuted by children.

The prospect of a united Ireland, reinvigorated with imperial ambition, religion, poverty, prostitution, changeable gender and the strain of an ageing population on a creaking health service, all of these – as he ventures with a twinkle in his eye about immigration – are crying out for a comic perspective. And sex, oh the sex. It’s all filthy he maintains, envisioning a perverse kink for the Obamas.

A middle-aged father-of-six marvelling at his still intact libido, Tiernan struggles to make sense of his erotic dreams but is pressed into impressive action during a weekend away with his wife. Cracked, human and joyous, it’s a delight to once again spend an hour within his howling earshot.

Until 27 August. Today 7:30pm.