Half of Neil Delamere’s routine went missing on Saturday. Well, not exactly AWOL – it was all there in the Irishman’s head, it’s just that we didn’t get to hear it.
Star rating: *****
Venue: Gilded Balloon at the Museum (Venue 64)
Delamere’s a comic who likes to engage with the audience, find out who they are, what they’re about. And this particular audience provided so much material, so many opportunities for surreal diversions that the set routine was organically set aside for another day.
And I can’t believe a single punter would have swapped the show they got for a different sampling of Delamere – the laughter is loud, genuine and non-stop. We’re all partners in a comic conspiracy.
One of Ireland’s most popular entertainers, a constant presence on TV panel shows, documentaries and radio quizzes, Delamere is back on the Fringe for the first time in three years. Within seconds he’s chatting to Dave the golf caddy, asking Dave’s sister why she’s sitting several rows away from him and revealing the shame of Greg the guide dog. There’s Francie from Germany who’s researching Alzheimer’s and rapeseed pumice (as you do), Brian the undertaker who once found something very scary in the corpse holding room, a heckle by a rape alarm in a walking stick, a moth which may or not be carrying Zika virus… whatever comes up, Delamere latches on to it and makes it hysterical.
He’s planned to talk about what’s been happening in the world and his own life since last he was here. There’s some fun with Brexit, the bonkersness of the points system imposed on Irish drivers, his trip to an astronaut training centre, pre-marital classes for good Catholic couples… But at any moment his attention can return to the audience, as another ridiculously sharp, fearlessly funny thought enters his head. It’s Delamere as quantum comic, his funny bone existing in two places at once.
If you want to hear the bits we missed, but didn’t miss – apparently involving his honeymoon travels – Delamere’s here all week.
He may get to them, he may not; either way, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more gifted comic on the Fringe.