Edinburgh Festival review – Mark Dolan

Chuggers, inadequacy with women, and booze – this is pretty unimaginative stuff from Mark Dolan

Mark_Dolan1Bit of a disappointment, this. For such a well-regarded comic Mark Dolan’s show this year leaves me feeling pretty lethargic.

There are precisely zero memorable lines in a show that simmers along nicely without ever coming to the boil. He is resident MC at Amused Moose Soho and unsurprisingly he makes the most of this with 15+ minutes at the start taken up by doing the usual name and occupation questions of the front row.

Warming up a room is a particular skill and Dolan has the edge over most comics in Edinburgh, who aren’t used to coming on to a cold room. He is a genial, likeable character, and this oils the wheels as he made his way along the front row, but while there were some witty despatches towards the fertility counsellor in particular, the earth didn’t exactly move.

He is very softly spoken and you want him to come out with some devastating or withering punchlines as a way of countering this, but the material is disposable. The jokes on Prince Harry, Victoria Beckham’s pregnancy (or Posh Spice, as he still calls her) and Scotland could have been made at any point over the past ten years; there are also routines on chuggers, his inadequacy with women, and booze – pretty unimaginative stuff. And when he tries to shake things up with something aggressive and/or sexual, it just feels like crudeness for the sake of it.

A few lines on parental discipline and the effect of widespread obesity on public toilets stand out for rising above the other humdrum material, but these are isolated moments and I certainly wasn’t the only one starting to sigh heavily towards the end. I was genuinely surprised to hear the punters’ comments afterwards, as it was such a low-energy gig.

Two stars

Mark Dolan: Sharing Too Much is on at 7pm at the Gilded Balloon.

What the punters say

Jenny, Edinburgh: It was so funny, really liked his chatting to the audience 4.5/5
Steph, Edinburgh: I found it funny, although I do really fancy him so maybe it’s because of that 4.5/5
Alison, Newcastle: It was good but I thought the audience participation went on too long 3.5/5
Review written by Paul Fleckney

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