DECRYING the “slow death of the Fringe” days before performing at one of the Festival’s most renowned venues may sound a tad counter-intuitive – but this is Stewart Lee: sultan of satire, comedy idealist and an icon for those of an anti-populist bent.
And at £15 a ticket Lee’s Carpet Remnant World at the revamped Assembly Rooms on George Street is arguably the bargain of the Fringe.
For your money you enjoy 75 minutes of thought-provoking satirical comedy bereft of cheap gags and predictable set-ups that touch on well-trodden themes like Islamophobia, high street homogenisation and the awkward existence of an ageing stand-up but with an irony and wisdom that can leave the uninitiated waiting for a punchline that just never comes.
Lee’s greatest talent is camoflaguing brilliant – yet often surreal – observations in a throwaway line or a subtle call-back from earlier in the set.
With 25 Fringe appearances under his belt, he is a veteran and well qualifed to comment on its evolution but he is no relic. His style is up-to-the-minute fresh and despite his niche appeal, easily commands the larger venue in which he now finds himself.
Until August 26