Fringe Comedy review: Barry Crimmins - Atlas's Knees

Barry Crimmins: Atlas's Knees | The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 5) | Star rating: ***

A legend of US stand-up, Barry Crimmins can recall when there were perhaps just 100 professional comics in the world. A staunch, outspoken socialist who finds his opinions on gun control, public healthcare and vegetarianism frequently clashing with those of his compatriots, he embraces the Edinburgh Fringe’s chaotic ethos.

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Sadly, visiting in conjunction with his honeymoon, he’s not quite ready for it yet, the glimpses of sporadic brilliance he displays here accompanied by regular longueurs as he struggles to find a way into his material. Spitting out a few insults at President Trump, he can’t quite get a bead on a polite, attentive audience, constantly dropping and picking up the mic, checking himself whenever he builds up a head of steam, which is a pity, because when he quits second-guessing his approach, he’s electric, delivering a devastatingly funny recollection of meeting Henry Kissinger and precision sniping at Ronald Reagan’s hypocrisy.

He also presents a powerful and largely non-comedic account of addressing the Sandinistas during the Nicaraguan Revolution. And while he ultimately spirals into agit-prop, denouncing those that would privatise the NHS in a rambling finale, you hope that by the close of his Fringe run he may have locked down what he wants to say.

• Until 27 August. Today 9:40pm.