Ally Houston: Shandy (2 stars)

A wrong turn or two undermines a decent debut where the young Scot clowns around


This article is from 2015.

Ally Houston: Shandy

Credit: Stephen Cruickshank

It’s difficult to know exactly what’s going on with Ally Houston’s Fringe debut. The young Scottish comic gives us Shandy, the possibly semi-true tale of his obsession with an imaginary (maybe) pet clown (but is it?) who he desperately wants to shake off in order to live a happier life: but does he really want shot of his nemesis / alter ego?

It all kicks off well enough as Houston delivers some jokes which either hit the mark full-on or seem deliberately bad. Not for nothing has he been mentioned in passing as a younger, more alive Chic Murray. Houston has a tech sidekick who says nothing but pops on stage from time to time to tidy up or get everything in order for Houston’s next bit. Most memorably, he drags a massive refuse bin up on to the stage for the show’s finest segment of health and safety-worrying daftness, while vaguely disturbing clown-based video footage is beamed into our increasingly baffled eyeballs.

There’s a pleasant enough amateur sheen to all this, but most off-putting are the songs which Houston delivers, some of which are so gag-free that they seem to belong to an entirely parallel show. There’s a fine show buried here under a misguided turn or two.

Just the Tonic @ The Mash House, 226 0000, until 30 Aug (not 18), 9.20pm, £4 (£3).

This article is from 2015.

Ally Houston: Shandy

  • 2 stars

Ally Houston Light glints from guitar and keyboard. Jokes tumble onto the stage. A clown is born. Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2015 sold out show. Dewy-eyed fun man Ally Houston gives you, in this, his debut hour, a stand-up show that becomes a dark musical odyssey into the mind of its creator, which examines…


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