Confident, well-informed, crowd-pleasing show that suffers only from a desire to please everyone
It takes a lot of skill to make stand-up look this effortless. Heck, Andrew Maxwell makes it look so effortless he barely even stands up. Perched on a stool centre-stage for most of the night, he occasionally gets up and paces the stage when a topic has him really fired up, but for the most part, he sits and converses in a warm Irish accent that’s remained strong despite two decades living on ‘the big island’ (because ‘why would I lose the only thing attractive on an Irishman?’).
A self-confessed ‘news junkie’, he’s hideously well informed in every topic he broaches – and he broaches plenty. After a solid intro displaying his near-native Edinburgh credentials (he praises the planners of the distant Fort Kinnaird retail park for ‘putting the shopping centre next to the shoplifters’), he winds through the recent history in Scottish, Irish and UK politics, shows a canny knowledge of today’s super-strength marijuana, logs a brief Twitter commentary, brushes up the men in the audience on their genital hygiene, gives his two cents on the Greek debt crisis, recounts his recent wedding to a Muslim woman and finishes up with stories of desert shenanigans in the Middle East.
It’s an international buffet of a gig, offering a little something for everyone – not for nothing does Maxwell have a reputation as a crowd-pleaser. There’s a part of you that wishes he’d narrow his focus and offer a deeper take on fewer subjects, but that approach would be at odds with his ability to give everyone in the room what they want. Unlike many Fringe comedians who (sometimes laboriously) pursue a theme in the hope of crafting a piece of narrative art, Maxwell is well aware that many Saturday night punters are just after a few laughs on topical issues, and he’s more than equipped to deliver.