Persistently strong material and natural affability from Fringe institution
This article is from 2012.
Now a firm Fringe institution, Fred MacAulay could coast by on easy charm alone. But that would never do, and even when he tackles well-trodden topics like air travel there's always the safe feeling that he'll have put in the graft for a proper big laugh. Much of the material is aimed at his overwhelmingly middle-aged Scottish crowd but his meticulously plotted hour has enough for everyone.
MacAulay is blessed with a preternatural gift for relaxing his audience and bantering like a friend. When a punter's phone goes off mid-gag, rather than humiliate the offender he joins in, clumsily fumbling to switch on then off his own ringtone before bemoaning the PRS fee he'll now have to pay. He encourages heckles but no one really bites. No one wants to upset their pal Fred.
Referencing his background as an accountant, he counters Jimmy Carr's recent tax discrepancies, calculator in hand, neatly explicating how his ticket price is carved up in case anyone thinks he's raking it in. With such natural affability and persistently strong material, he deserves a bigger cut.
The Stand III & IV, 0131 558 7272, until 26 Aug (not 13, 20), 10.25pm, £10.