Skip to content

FringeGuru

Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2012 arrow Andrew Maxwell: That's the Spirit
 
Andrew Maxwell: That's the Spirit
Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012
4

4 stars

Underbelly, Bristo Square (venue website)
Comedy
1-11, 14-26 Aug, 7:15pm-8:15pm, 9:05pm-10:05pm; 12, 27 Aug, 9:05pm-10:05pm; 13, 31 Aug, 7:15pm-8:15pm
Reviewed by Martin Lennon

 Recommended for age 14+ only.
 Recommended for age 16+ only.

I saw Andrew Maxwell on a historic day for him: he was able to celebrate Ireland's gold medal at the close of the Olympics, as well as a rare sunny day in Edinburgh. A deserved nominee at last year's Edinburgh comedy awards, Maxwell offers here an insightful, honest show about politics, religion and travelling.

Commended last year for his deftness in adapting his act to the London riots, it was clear from the start that his material this year would be very much topical and relevant. Smartly, he used the early stages to look at local matters such as the collapse of Rangers, Scottish independence and the Royal Family.

This was clearly too much for two middle-aged women in the audience, who took offence and walked out, heckling him with cries of “you’re crap!”  This was unjustifiable – Maxwell had not been offensive at all – and he seemed a bit rattled.  He got on with his show in a rather dignified, professional manner, observing that “people need to understand the context so I can make the jokes”.  But he did let it change the flow of the gig a bit, which up until that point had been full of energy.

However, Maxwell plainly had the rest of the crowd on-side, and continued with his with usual non-confrontational style of comedy – dedicating most of the second half of the show to stories about his travels in America.  While not always free from controversy, he had a unique ability to educate rather than preach. Like us, he is just trying to make sense of it all, and never professes to have the right answers. His views on the Duchess of Cambridge’s dietary constraints were met with a hysterical response, while his Belfast impressions were right on the money. But aside from these jokes he was able to probe deeper, and get a thoughtful response from the crowd on matters such as the John Terry court case.

There is no doubt however that some of his material was at times too political. Heavy subjects like Mormonism and Greek debt seemed to alienate the crowd slightly, and his views on the Olympics didn’t win anyone over. I also, personally, missed the angrier side of his personality, although in the few gags where he did use that it was pitch perfect.

At times he has the politicised realism of Bill Hicks and the languid style of storytelling of Dylan Moran. When he gets his storytelling right his comedy is electrifying and of the highest standard, provoking emotions that make you laugh and think at once – something rare these days. Two ladies ‘crap’ is, in this case, one man’s ‘brilliance’ – and by that standard, Maxwell is one of the ‘crappiest’ comedians around today.

<< East of the Sun, West of ...   The Life and Sort of Deat... >>

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2012 Five Stars

5 stars Comedy
Totally Tom


5 stars Comedy
The Magical Adventures of Pete Heat


5 stars Theatre
Bye Bye World


5 stars Comedy
Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers


5 stars Comedy
Truth


5 stars Theatre
The House of Shadows


5 stars Cabaret
Briefs


5 stars Theatre
Made for Each Other - Free


5 stars Comedy
Tony Law: Nonsense Overdrive


5 stars Comedy
Ivo Graham and Liam Williams


5 stars Comedy
Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff


5 stars Comedy
The Blanks' Big Break


5 stars Theatre
A Clockwork Orange


5 stars Comedy
Richard Wiseman: Psychobabble


5 stars Comedy
Martin Mor: A Man You Donít Meet Everyday


5 stars Theatre
1984


5 stars Comedy
Swedenborg, the Devil and Me


5 stars Theatre
The Trench


5 stars Theatre
Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut


5 stars Theatre
Joyced!


5 stars Theatre
An Evening With Dementia


5 stars Comedy
Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna


5 stars Theatre
Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke


5 stars Comedy
Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky


5 stars Comedy
The Horne Section - Live at the Grand!


5 stars Theatre
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found


5 stars Theatre
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle


5 stars Theatre
Songs of Lear


5 stars Cabaret
Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man


5 stars Comedy
Josie Long: Romance and Adventure


5 stars Comedy
10 Films With My Dad


5 stars Theatre
4.48 Psychosis


5 stars Theatre
As You Like It


5 stars Theatre
Appointment With The Wicker Man


5 stars Comedy
Jessie Cave: Bookworm


5 stars Comedy
Morgan & West: Lying, Cheating Scoundrels


5 stars Theatre
Hearts on Fire


5 stars Theatre
Rainbow


5 stars Comedy
Chris Dangerfield: Sex Tourist


5 stars Comedy
Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough


5 stars Theatre
Chatroom


5 stars Comedy
Peacock & Gamble Don't Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway


5 stars Theatre
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You


5 stars Comedy
John Robertson - The Dark Room - Free


5 stars Kids'
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger