Iain Stirling: U OK Hun? X

comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Iain Stirling
Published 10 Aug 2017

Iain Stirling’s show is already sold out for the entire Fringe. Whether this is because of his local roots, his appearances as a children's TV presenter, or his role as the voice of Love Island is hard to know. But it's his references to the latter that result in the most enthusiastic whoops from the audience, and any discussion of that programme’s participants sees the crowd lean in for gossip. And so if you've never seen Love Island you might be quite bemused by various points in this show.

That said, Stirling refuses to rely on such easy audience responses. Which is good, as he has considerably more interesting material to deliver. Much of this is focused on class and age, and he rails against the gentrification of Leith. There’s an intriguing contradiction in a comedian being the voice of a younger generation while simultaneously bemoaning change in a manner akin to someone twice his age.

Much of the material concerns the 20-something regret of big nights out being replaced by dinner parties where alcohol is an accompaniment to the meal rather than a goal in itself. This is potently delivered, even if it means he's another of those man-children refusing to face adulthood that seems to litter the comedy circuit. But he's also a skilled storyteller, able to root his narratives in the lived experiences of his audience. There's a grit to this material that produces a relatable authenticity, and he's adept at working a crowd.