Review – Fred MacAuley, Frederendum

And the award for most misleading walk-on music at the Fringe goes to …


Scottish independence. The big one. The most seismic decision Scotland has had to make in 400 years. It’s the question that is, ironically, dividing the nation. It’s tearing families asunder; hogging the column inches. So much at stake! And no turning back. So yes, Sabotage by Beastie Boys with its do-or-die guitar riff is PRECISELY the right walk-on music before Fred “the Shred” MacAuley tears the subject a new a-hole!! Presumably it was a toss up between that and Fight For Your Right To Party.

Alas, a musical fred herring. It would be unwise to expect visceral, chest-beating stand-up from the gentle Jock. That’s just not his style. Instead, Frederendum pootles along in the middle lane, no gear change in sight, solid and reliable as a Mondeo (there may be more car analogies to come, seeing as Fred co-opts the “Ford” logo for his comedic purposes.)

You would also be mistaken if you made the reasonable assumption that he might broach the topic of independence. Every time he goes near it, he veers of in another direction, his comedy satnav more interested in the scenic route (there you go). So here he is, one of Scotland’s best-loved comedians, in a show called Frederendum, talking about things like the Commonwealth Games, how mouthy Scots are, and getting pulled over by the cops for using his mobile in the car – presumably while blaring out Sabotage by the Beastie Boys.

When he finally does alight on the subject, the reason for his independence aversion becomes clear – he works for the BBC, of course! So in addition to no loud noises and no surprises: no opinions either. He does however turn this on its head with a very funny routine about how easily people will cry “partiality” at him and his BBC Radio Scotland show.

The chances of a satirical show having long gone, we have to make do with a finale that is a simple, humble request: please everybody vote, and don’t quarrel too much about it. Pretty sure that’s the Beastie’s take on it too.

Review written by Paul Fleckney

The Frederendum is at the Assembly Rooms at 7.30pm

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