Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Review: Chris McCausland: Speaky Blinder at Underbelly Bristo Square

Review: Chris McCausland: Speaky Blinder at Underbelly Bristo Square

Chris McCausland is a blind man who speaks. Hence, Speaky Blinder, a show where he jokes about and describes his own life. The features, problems, and frustrations of being blind are McCausland’s main focus, but the emotional core of the act are his words both passionate and rib-tickling on being a father and a husband.

MacCausland opens with what might be the best toilet joke of the festival, and quickly has us charmed. Very quickly, he opens himself up. For example, he’s excited to be living ‘in the future’, in the world of online audiobooks and self-driving cars, but worries that he might love his iPhone more than his wife because of its excellent accessibility features.

MacCausland confesses that the first half of the show is his comfort zone. He cracks constant gags, so that he can enjoy hearing his audience laughing. Laughter means he doesn’t have to stress out trying to visualise our reactions. In the second half he steps out of his comfort zone, and goes into a more serious monologue on his life. Here, he sets himself apart.

There’s a constant flicker between seriousness and silliness in Speaky Blinder, but McCausland holds it together with a blend of easy charm and raw emotion. There’s points where one might not be blamed for mistaking his watering eyes (the stage lights did it) for crying ones, or for shedding a few tears of one’s own. It’s to McCausland’s credit that his act never feels self-indulgent or mundane– and that’s because he’s speaking passionately on universal themes.

Speaky Blinder is a illuminating, heartfelt performance. Highly recommended to dads, husbands, and human beings.

Chris McCausland: Speaky Blinder, Underbelly Bristo Square, 17-26 Aug, 6.35pm

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