Andrew Maxwell: That’s The Spirit, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

Nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award last year, the Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell returns to the scene of that creditworthy show to stage a paler imitation of it.

Even on cruise control and at his most formulaic Maxwell is an enjoyable spectacle. While those new to him will enjoy his latest offering, his formula is becoming a bit predictable to the seasoned fan.

Cynically speaking, an Andrew Maxwell show runs as follows: ask audience to make “ooh” and “aah” noises; come on stage in fits of forced maniacal laughter; start off  the introductory material with all things Scottish and broaden out, ending up, via some topical stepping stones, somewhere in the US.

Despite some definite coasting, the 38-year old Dubliner still serves of some of the most telling lines around. “You can keep paying us and we’ll keep waving from the balcony” is his ambivalent take on the persistence of the Royals. In his Scottish section he muses: “First RBS, then Rangers. Turns out it was the Prods that are shit with money.”

Points as well as prejudices are stretched back and forth as Maxwell toys with us and with where the line is. Sometimes the playfulness is too contrived, though often he’s just employing new takes on ruses he has used before. That they stick out more this year says something about the impact and pacing of the show, which should improve as the festival wears on.

Until 27 August, 0131 623 3030