After initial microphone issues, Spicer quickly built a nice rapport with the audience and made it clear to them that they were in safe hands.

His initial interactions with some of the audience members provided some laughs, though they went on for a little too long.

He delivered the material well and much of the material was engaging. However, there was often a lack of real comic depth to some of the segments, with some of them fizzling out somewhat.

His topics included gossip, relationships and social media, and a bugbear of his life – landlords. One engaging section related to being scammed by a landlord whilst at a previous Fringe. This was good material but probably wasn’t exploited quite as fully as it could have been. The show really picked up towards the end as he recounted some of the more awkward shows he had during his run. This included one particularly problematic audience member who, with her eccentric behaviour, rather killed the atmosphere in the previous show. 

He also mentioned his show the day before which had been attended by an almost full room. However, over twenty of those audience members were teenage language students, over from France. It had been from the lack of response that they didn’t have the level of English to understand the material. That’s unsurprising, given that much British humour relies on ambiguous language, puns etc. Students would need to be at least C1 (Advanced) by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), to get much from most stand-up comedy performances. After the French student’s teacher told them they were free to leave if they so wished, there was a rapid exodus. This material had a richness missing from much of the rest of the show. This last portion demonstrated Spicer’s ability when equipped with strong material. 

Given the number of very competent stand up comedians performing in Edinburgh, standing out from the crowd is difficult. Shows need to be well performed but also to have material that really engages the mind. This was more a loose collection of observations. Spicer himself described his show as largely “just me chatting away”. Without a cohering narrative, the show was highly engaging but not more. 

The venue was a pleasant airy bar in Brewdog Doghouse, though this did involve the performer having to compete with noises from the bar and movement from the bar staff. Spicer responded well to some of the interruptions, even when a slush machine at the bar started to grind annoyingly! (it needed to be refilled). Spicer showed that he has plenty of ability but that’s not enough to make a substantial impact on the Fringe.

Patrick Spicer: Yes Haha What is at Brewdog Doghouse (Venue 603) until August 27th.

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