Many things make a show stand out above the rest – being ground-breaking, bravely revealing, dangerous, outrageous or having a brilliant element of surprise, for example. None of these applies to Alistair Barrie’s show.
Alistair Barrie: The InternationAL, Liquid Room Annexe/Warehouse (Venue 276) *****
What makes it stand out is that, as I watch and listen, I realise, as he offers up Brexit and #MeToo, Trump and the social strictures of generation snowflake, that I will never hear these topics dealt with better than this.
And that is a thrilling feeling. The comedy craftsmanship is exquisite. His performance has the confident ease of a man who knows his material needs no help from a tricksy delivery, and the intelligence and breadth of vision he brings to harvesting laughs from subjects already overworked to exhaustion makes this a masterclass of socio-political comedy.
If you have been bored senseless listening to virtue-signalling streaks of woke, cooking up their next shot of outrage onstage, come and listen to a proper, professional comedy communicator and find out what you could have laughed at.
And thought about. And actually moved forward a bit from, because Barrie takes the Gordian Knots of Brexit and a vast roomful of people fall about laughing their agreement at his explanations of why the EU doesn’t really work anyway.
He does a comedy Alexander the Great and we watch the knot, if not fall apart, at least reveal where its loose ends are. His jokes are seamlessly woven into the thread of his arguments and there is not one cheap or hack laugh in the hour. Barrie’s rants against the toxically divisive nature of kneejerk labelling make you laugh. Even if you are a libtard snowflake.
• Until 26 August, 3:45pm