Al Porter: At Large
A seasoned old-school act in the body of a young comic
This article is from 2016.
If anyone at the Fringe this year has that old-school star quality, it's Irishman Al Porter. In his smart suit, slicked back hair and simple but feckin' funny gags, surely he's going to end up with his own TV show before too long. Despite being just 23, Porter already feels like a seasoned act, blessed as he is with an apparently instinctive nose for comedy.
As material goes, there's nothing hugely ground-breaking here, as he disclaims from the off, but what is special about At Large is that every syllable is mined for laughs. Though he does have some props on stage – stool, hat stand, flowers – just in case it's not funny: 'I can claim it was a play', he insists. Not that he would need to.
You certainly get your money's worth as he races through material at breakneck speed, leaving you out of breath while the next gag is on you. Breezily camp (he notes that he's '1970s gay'), he likes nothing more than to provoke a bit of mild outrage whether it be a gag about his wheelchair-using ex-boyfriend or waking up in the Canaries after a particularly heavy night out.
One interesting undercurrent to the material is that often his humour is derived from trying to fit in where he feels he doesn't belong: the working-class boy from a council estate in Dublin faced with what seems like the whole cutlery drawer laid out on the table in a posh restaurant. Or he's the boy growing up with an air force dad pointing out attractive women to his teenage son who already realises he's gay. Natural charm by the truck load, Al Porter will go far.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 15), 10.40pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10).