There are few more heart-warming comedians than John Bishop on the Fringe. In my mind he's gone from a rickety start four years ago, when he did a loose show about a cycling journey across Europe, to two polished, no-nonsense shows in the past two years.
Last year, Bishop won friends for Stick Your Job Up Your Arse, and this year's effort is similarly pleasing. Cultural Ambassador uses Liverpool's status as the 2008 European Capital of Culture as its starting point, but could have been called "How I Wanted to Play for Liverpool". Ultimately it's about keeping dreams alive – even the more unexpected ones such as his son's audition for a ballet school, though that may rank as less surprising than his other son, 13, receiving a sexy text at midnight.
A dab hand at long stories as well as quips ("Just tell us about the Fat Controller" is how he imagines he might get ex-Beatle and ex-Thomas The Tank Engine narrator Ringo Starr to stop singing at the concert to mark Liverpool's status as City of Culture), Bishop's show is a little clunky. A tale of going on a City of Culture jolly to Hong Kong and ending up in a compromising position in a "gentlemen's club" doesn't segue well on to the portion about dreams being kept alive.
But, despite an occasional lapse in focus, Bishop leaves his audience on a high.
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