City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Donald Robertson Is Not A Stand-up Comedian, Traverse Theatre, Review


By Katie Stephen - Posted on 13 May 2016

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Show Details
Venue: 
Traverse Theatre
Company: 
Gary McNair
Production: 
Gary McNair (Writer), Gareth Nicholls (Director), Sarah Gray (Producer), Fiona Johnston (PRoductions and Stage Manager)
Performers: 
Gary McNair, Michael Kelly (Donald Robertson)
Running time: 
65mins

Once described as “hilarious” by the Scotsman, Gary McNair ambles onto the stage of Traverse Two to tell the story of his bus ride protégé, Donald Robertson, and his attempts to become a stand-up comedian. Within the intimate setting of a comedy club cabaret bar, stand-up secrets are divulged and coming-of-age plans devised.

Writer and performer McNair regales us with the tale of a teenage boy, Donald Robertson, and his attempts to reclaim respect at school by becoming the teller of jokes rather than the butt of them. By disclosing the hints and tips given in his weekly mentoring sessions with the young comedian, he offers the audience an insight into and deconstruction of several tactics used by comedians.

With well explained reasoning, McNair keeps the room happy by chatting with the audience, but refrains from resorting to a comics goto of using insults as basis for conversation, which within the small studio space was much appreciated. Quickly establishing a rapport, the audience was more than happy to forgive his, self-professed, unfortunate Tom Jones impression, and rather unconventional interval.

Building the foundation of his act, and the basis of his pupil Donald’s experience, groan-worthy jokes are littered throughout, accompanied by a peppering of subtle yet well-executed puns. McNair commends this style of comedy, before banishing it from Robertson’s repertoire, but still continues to use it for his own gains.

Although, misleading in title, McNair’s intricate weaving of two comedians' chronologies creates a piece of stand-up comedy that will have your emotions and threshold for “bad jokes” tested. Both comforting and assertive, this stand-up show feels like bar banter with an old friend. Donald Robertson may not be a stand up comedian, but Gary McNair certainly is.

Read Justine Blundell's review of Donald Robertson is Not a Stand-up Comedian

Running in Traverse Two until Saturday 14th May
Tickets available from Traverse Theatre