Barry Crimmins: Atlas's Knee
- Brian Donaldson
- 25 August 2017
Seasoned campaigner saves the day by keeping his best stuff for last
You'll see a lot of comedians at the Fringe and beyond who are so determined to get a crowd onside immediately that they cram in their strongest stuff early before inevitably falling away. Veteran American Barry Crimmins tries a very different tack by beginning so lackadaisically that you're unsure whether he knows that people are in the same room looking at him. But by the end, his head of steam is built up to such an extent that it's a crying shame that he has to depart the stage when he does.
On this evening, his opening is further muffled by the imperative to mention Dick Gregory and Jerry Lewis, two US comedy legends who died earlier that day, and he delivers memories and material from the heart. But in terms of warming up a crowd, we're metaphorically putting on an extra layer. Almost apologetically, he turns his attention to the locker room-talker in the White House but doesn't really have a particularly fresh take on Trump (a task that's getting more difficult with each passing headline). But in the final quarter, Crimmins finally lands a volley of solid blows with routines about the lack of editors on social media, the shock his fellow Americans express when he tells them he won't bear arms, and ends with a passionate defence of the NHS.
The Stand, until 27 Aug, 9.40pm, £12 (£11).