Ed Byrne returns to the Fringe with a new hour of observational comedy – this time he is determined to shed light on just how spoiled we are as humans. Spoiler Alert sees the comedian borrow anecdotes from his own life to entertain the audience.
A significant proportion of the act is dedicated to Byrne’s children, and the many ways in which they manage to both amuse and exacerbate him as a parent. Spoiler Alert creates a nostalgic contrast between life as it was for children 30 years ago, compared to today. Byrne explains resenting his children for having so much, while ironically admitting that he is responsible for giving them all the things they have. The show offers a glimpse of intimacy as Byrne begins to admits being embarrassed of his now middle-class status, and as a result, raising middle-class children. That moment however, doesn’t last long before the show begins to feel a little long.
There is no doubt that Byrne is a talented and skilled comedian, and there is a reason why he has become a household name. With quick and witty delivery, his act is fun and enjoyable but, however, it is slightly underwhelming. Perhaps this is down to the pressure on more famous comedians to deliver the unexpected, but at times Byrne feels detached and impersonal, and the writing, though funny, was predictable and comfortable.
Even with its shortcomings, Ed Byrne’s Spoiler Alert is good and inoffensive fun, and a great example of mainstream observational comedy.
Words: Mariana Mercado
Picture: Roslyn Gaunt
Ed Byrne: Spoiler Alert, Assembly George Square Theatre, Aug 6-27 (not 14), 7.30pm