Kevin McGahern: Taking Off (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Kevin McGahern: Taking Off

Consummate stand-up from a comic whose show is full of treats

Kevin McGahern cites Dylan Moran as an inspiration and you can see echoes of his fellow Irishman in observational routines touched with surreal sensibilities. Spam long johns anyone? A good chunk of the audience here are just supporting their fellow countryman in a foreign land but McGahern's also well-known back in Ireland including for his presenting duties on RTE series Republic of Telly. But stand-up is where he started and is clearly his natural home, as here he produces a fluid hour of consummate comedy.

He launches into mischievous taunting of those in the room who are English and their shameful colonial past – he also has the gift of an Indian guy in the front row to add to those who have been wronged – portraying Britain as a swaggering boorish ex trying to pick up countries he's already had a history with. This routine is the first of many visual treats peppered throughout to add texture, and later there's some nice mic work when talking of how tricky it is to maintain the spice in a long-term relationship.

Taking Off is not heavily themed other than a focus on the imminent apocalypse, and McGahern has decided that Ireland is the place for a party to which we're all invited. Much inspiration is derived from his background, with the Irish art of begrudgery sending him moaning about other people's good fortune and revelling in their bad luck. Many of the topics are familiar territory but that otherworldly quality and the sheer effortless quality of his writing lifts it way above the average.

Unberbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug, 10.50pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).

Kevin McGahern: Taking Off

  • 4 stars

Lisa Richards Known in his native Ireland from popular comedy shows Republic of Telly and Hardy Bucks, Kevin McGahern brings his particular brand of nonsense to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time. Mixing traditional stand-up with character-based comedy, Kevin's laid-back, straight-faced delivery elevates the…