Kevin McAleer (4 stars)


This article is from 2006.

They’re onto him, is the upshot. Through the postal service, the electricity company and meringue-hoarding restaurants, ‘government employees’ of every stripe are surveilling Kevin McAleer around the clock. Good thing, then, that the Northern Irish comic wears his foil-lined crash helmet wherever possible. Unbeknown to the man himself, you see, McAleer’s alter ego is mad as a barrel of sparrows. For those unfamiliar with the comedian’s career, the rambling, bashful underplay of McAleer’s delivery has to be seen to be believed. He doesn’t so much deadpan as convey the sense that he has very recently been shaken awake after some complicated surgery.

The effect of this wilfully low-key style is that material whose subtlety might sink beneath the blaring oration of a lesser funnyman soars in McAleer’s patient hands. His digressions into a surreal, fictional biography, informed by a blissfully sawn-off logic, always land exactly where they took off, and the show has a surprisingly satisfying narrative flow.

He’s not flawless though - there are a few uncomfortably long stretches between the bon mots - and some of the jokes themselves are too punnish but on a scene tending to favour gregarious, louder-than-thou practitioners, Chalk and Cheese is something of a whispering gem.
(Sam Healy)

The Stand II, 558 7272, until 27 Aug (not 14), 5.40pm, £7 (£6).

This article is from 2006.


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