Review by Olivia Gardener
This Irish comedian mainly known for his appearances on Mock The Week and his adventures with friend and fellow comedian Dara O’Briain has rolled out a smashing sell out tour. Well, I say sell out, however there were four empty seats in the front row which Ed Byrne addressed straight away sending the audience into hysterics as soon as he appeared.
Ed Byrne’s tour, named Spoiler Alert, addresses many of the aspects in his life which he seems to just vent out on the stage. The main focus stemming from the idea that we are as a nation ’spoilt’. Being someone who comes from a working class background and having done fairly well for himself, Ed compares the childhood and upbringing he had in the 1970s with the one he is giving his children, Cosmo and Magnus (the names admittedly getting a few chuckles which weren’t necessarily intended). His idea of ‘fun’ being sitting outside of the pub while his dad went in for a pint compared to his children‘s, who have a giant trampoline in their garden which they see as almost compulsory, and going on expensive trips to Lapland which Ed ended up being more excited about than the kids.
Ed is clearly not shy when talking about his now middle-class lifestyle and for the majority of his set just ridiculed the whole idea of it. At one point even admitting he was raising two posh kids who, if he was a kid again, he would have hated. Slightly harsh maybe, however accurate. Ed then goes on to talk about his thoughts on buying an Aga… a demonstration in itself the middle-aged middle-class society Ed has stumbled into. The way he delivers his material makes the show come across very real and authentic as it’s not too perfect. With his slight word mix ups the show doesn’t look too rehearsed but more natural which in turn, makes the audience feel more relaxed.
A joke was made about the absence of a support act for this particular show as Ed claimed he was sacked for eating all of the snacks at previous venues. Although this was followed up by a hearty laugh from the audience, it meant Ed was on stage for the whole show and could have easily lead to the audience getting bored (after all it is hard to listen to someone talk on stage for two hours). However Ed’s ability to tell stories and intertwine them together and around each other is seamless and he’s able to keep the attention of the audience for the whole time he is on stage. He even managed to start on a topic in part one, going off on a tangent, then continuing it in the second half before going off on another tangent. His gift of being ‘a talker’ definitely comes in handy in his stand up!
After seeing this with my dad, we both agreed that we thought the show would be cruder than it was and was surprisingly more suitable for slightly younger audiences. This is not necessarily a negative but actually opens up the comedic scene to the younger generations to enjoy. Ed also touched on some political material like the unavoidable Donald Trump. ‘Touched’ being the key word here, as I feel that comedy can become slightly tedious with the overuse of it. Nevertheless, Ed managed it perfectly and took a different perspective to Donald Trump’s humour with reference to the sign language used to describe him. As you can imagine it wasn’t positive.
As always, whether it be on the TV or in stand up, Ed Byrne makes people laugh and this run is no different. With his skillful story-telling and down to earth humour, you’re in for a laugh from start to finish. The atmosphere inside the theatre was great and I look forward to see him next time he comes to Newcastle as he even admitted it’s one on his favourite venues to fill!