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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Carl Donnelly: Now That's What I Carl Donnelly! Volume V
Carl Donnelly: Now That's What I Carl Donnelly! Volume V
Published on Sunday, 25 August 2013

5 stars

Pleasance Courtyard (venue website)
31 Jul, 1-13, 15-24 Aug, 8:30pm-9:30pm
Reviewed by Liam McKenna

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

A deadline approached and he panicked. That, says Donnelly, is the reason for the title of his Foster’s Comedy award-nominated show. He reveals he recently broke up with his wife and says, somewhat flippantly, that if only it had happened six months ago he’d have an award-winning show – “full of pathos and everything.”

Instead there’s no particular theme this year; it’s simply Donnelly taking us through his past 12 months, his conversion to veganism (“the animals are up to something”), and all the unusual anecdotes we’ve come to expect from a guy whose real life requires little embellishment. With such a keen eye for detail, he is able to forge a hilarious scenario out of uncomfortable situations that others wouldn’t touch. Only someone as confident and charming as Donnelly could make a truly disgusting story about an incident while watching Masterchef one of the funniest things you’ve ever heard.

Donnelly is a naturally gifted comedian. He has no “act” as such to hide behind, just humour. His anecdotes are real and vivid; you feel like he is just talking to you as a friend, rather than a man who has written a tight hour-long script. He riffs frequently off the front row, who tonight supply no end of material. “Is this a stag do?” he asks of three men with One Direction stickers slapped on their breast pockets. “It’s a Friday,” replies one.

If the room weren’t so sweltering, I’m sure the audience would happily sit here for much longer than an hour, listening to Donnelly’s stories of emus with brilliant comic timing and ducks holding secret meetings. Many of the stories are personal, many involve animals, and Donnelly admits he has visited a lot of zoos lately.

But along with the slew of fast-paced, consistently hilarious anecdotes, Donnelly shows a serious, perceptive side. He expresses his support for gay marriage and shows snarling contempt for anyone who opposes it without a solid argument. The elderly get a ribbing too, as Donnelly explains – in rather coarser terms than I’m allowed to use here – that git is a git, regardless of age.

Dommelly appears a very forward-thinking individual. He despises trends that insist on doing things the old way, and dismisses that that there’s even such a thing as “the good old days”, citing Operation Yewtree as a fairly blunt example. In a cruder moment, he also reveals that he’s “livid” about his appearance currently resembling Rolf Harris.

You just can’t help but love Carl Donnelly’s bright, addictive personality. This is a deservedly highly-rated show, from a man who was born to be a comedian. If he does come back next year with a poignant storyline as well, then that award might be in his grasp.

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