Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian

Poignant, astute and hilarious coming-of-age comedy from Gary McNair

Coming-of-age comedy can be twee or cringeworthy. Not so with Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian which explores the trials of boyhood and manhood with deadpan wit and a real even-handedness: it's a joyous thing indeed.

Writer/performer Gary McNair, acting as a nerdier version of himself in a shiny suit, explores stand-up comedy as a means of self-preservation, mentoring the titular teenager Robertson (Michael Kelly) through a vicious bout of bullying by teaching him the art of the humorous comeback. Robertson's just baffled by McNair's hairstyle.

Parodying and homaging several comedic styles (aggressive, tasteless, banal observational) with even Robertson himself getting some zingers in, theatre and comedy blurs in this hilarious, beautifully observed paean to growing pains. Their experiences overlap, suggesting nothing much changes the older we get-it's just a bigger playground to run from. Riffing on male identity, and what it means to belong in an increasingly isolated society where innocence has been replaced by cynicism, it's dense with ideas - becoming the ultimate antidote to the ''skinny jeans wearing bloke with a microphone'' festival cliché.

Poignant, astute and hilarious - and you may never regard He-Man 's Castle Grayskull in quite the same way again.

Traverse Theatre 0131 228 1484, 1-24 Aug (not 4,11,18), £18 (£13)

Donald Robertson is Not a Stand-Up Comedian

  • 4 stars
  • Written by: Gary McNair

New piece by writer/performer Gary McNair – a coming of age story which looks at comedy in an entirely different light.