Strictly Carl Donnelly! (3 stars)

Carl Donnelly: Strictly Carl Donnelly!

An hour that resonates when it stays fresh

The setting of last year's show may have been the 25-seater upper deck of Bob's BlundaBus, but for 2018, Carl Donnelly is back in a more familiar performing environment. Here, he reminisces on the past decade of his life, questioning the big changes that have resulted in him straddling the intersections between a middle and working-class identity.

Donnelly has a tendency to go off on tangents, as he readily admits from the beginning, and the majority of the time, these digressions slot in well with his observational-style comedy. But where this doesn't work is when the observation in question seems overused and all-too obvious. One example is in his reflection on Queer Eye, in which his study of the Netflix show is humorous but wholly predictable if you're a follower of memes and social media in-jokes of any kind.

Despite this, his skills as a storyteller appear to come naturally, especially as he relays tales of stag dos and proposals gone awry. It's entirely understandable then, how his ten years at the Fringe have included two Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations, numerous accolades and plenty of sell-out performances. As he returns to Edinburgh with this latest solo run, it's safe to say that Carl Donnelly's story is one that continues to resonate widely with audiences.

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 26 Aug (not 13), 6.45pm, donations.

Strictly Carl Donnelly!

  • 3 stars

Carl Donnelly Join this 'observational genius' (Guardian) for his 10th solo show! In 10 years he’s been married, divorced, happy, depressed and twice nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award. This year he’s taking stock and seeing if his life, in those 10 years of coming to the Fringe, has lived up to his expectations.

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