Alistair McGowan (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Alistair McGowan

Back to the 90s

Next to more recent TV impressionists such as Kevin Bishop and Peter Serafinowicz, Alistair McGowan is a positive veteran. Some 13 years after his last Edinburgh run, he proves that he’s still able to draw on his vast repertoire of voices to comic effect: look out for an alarmingly accurate Rowan Atkinson and an uncanny Nicolas Cage.

However, he’s let down by the weakness of his material, which feels as though it’s been recycled from the last decade. Jokes about reality TV, the Beckhams, and a number of football references – some of which are only amusing if you’re familiar with the late-90s Celtic line-up – feature, though the appearance of Robert Peston provides a welcome contemporary injection.

Nevertheless, McGowan is a perceptive entertainer and he skilfully changes the direction of his act every time a gag works well, saving the biggest laughs for the end. That he recovers quickly after an audience member nearly faints in this stuffy venue is proof that he is a nimble performer. It’s just a shame that his skills aren’t backed by stronger stuff from his bulging catalogue.

Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 31 Aug, 7.20pm, £14–£16 (£13–£15).

Alistair McGowan: The One and Many

  • 3 stars

Britain's best impressionist ('The Big Impression') returns to Edinburgh for the first time in 10 years. No wigs, no make-up, but more voices than any other show - including, most importantly, his own!

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