SCOTSMAN REVIEW OF ‘SMARTBOMB’

It’s not a question of the elephant in the room when Neil Delamere calls a cleaner in after having work done on his home. What it is, punters are invited to guess at his latest Edinburgh show. I’m pleased to report that I was wrong. Nigel in the front row, though, was pretty much there, the smutty soul.
Early on, Delamere advises us to ignore the “Smartbomb” title, a holding thing due to a Fringe requirement that shows have a name come early spring for marketing purposes. The only explosions at this show are the explosions of laughter, which are constant, and justifiably loud.

In fact, the Irishman’s hour is centred on people he has annoyed recently, ranging from an officious football steward to super-honest German pal Dieter. And that poor cleaner. How can anyone get irked with someone as affable as Delamere? Well…

Delamere is a fast talker, meaning that while his routine has a beginning, middle and end, there is plenty of room for flights of fancy as his mind wanders, and he gets to know audience members. And he is smart enough to be able to connect as easily with a student as a space scientist.

Things we learned included how your fiancée can persuade a priest you’re a good Catholic to ensure the wedding of her dreams, why you can’t take portions of fruit to a Liverpool FC game, and what made Delamere’s granny glow.

A well-kent face on Irish telly – as well as panel shows, history buff Delamere has made documentaries on Norsemen and St Patrick – most of his audience hails from home, meaning many Fringe punters have yet to discover him. I hope they find him this year – as hilarious as he is hard-working, Delamere’s name is a cast-iron guarantee of a gig to remember.

THE EDINBURGH HERALD

Gifted of gab and with firmly controlled flights of fancy, Neil Delamere is ready to climb the heights scaled by his compatriots Ed and Jason Byrne. That is the next bookmark in his life taken care of.

The loose device for this new show is to look back over the major personal events thus far. In other words, the autobiographical stuff of which much comedy is made.

With a hefty contingent from Northern Ireland howling the place down, the boy from the south was having a field day, and did not shrink from back referencing “The Troubles” as it suited his comic train of thought.

He is extremely adept at extracting the humour out of relationships in general, and sex in particular.

The tale of losing his virginity, almost literally, on a sofa bed is grab your guts funny, from trying to live the lyrics of Lou Reed’s song Perfect Day to the car alarm that plays the chimes of an ice cream van.

Delamere uses his crowd to bounce off like a wrestler working the ropes, coming back to pin yet another wry punchline to the floor.He may look unassuming and nondescript, but this is one mean, lean, comedy killing machine.

CHORTLE.CO.UK

Neil Delamere provides great material and laughs, with enough heart to warm any crowd.

He opens with a bit about being pulled over on his bike, but only gets about two minutes in before a heckler starts finishing the story for him. Apparently he’d heard it the day before in a short spot, and Delamere wastes no time putting the heckler down with ruthless efficiency. The heckler is blind, but no punches are spared in the takedown with lightning wit and a new running joke for the show.

Next up is some light crowd work, focusing on the easy nationality and cultural differences laughs but nevertheless still winning over a slightly unruly crowd. The original story is eventually finished to an applause, thanks to hilarious twist ending.

Unshaken, Delamere unleashes his top notch material revolving around the theme of some vintage footage of his 16-year-old self taking part in a TV quiz show, Blackboard Jungle, with his school. Material is slotted around the video, discussing his life at that time and the other contestants, as well as what he’s learned in the succeeding seventeen years.

It’s executed well and structures the set beautifully, with an audience participation section hilariously demonstrating how one-sided a quiz show can be, with Delamere still embittered over his team’s early loss.

There’s other material in the mix, with jokes about embarrassing sex incidents, losing weight, and a letter correspondence with an angry man who once dared to steal Delamere’s parking spot.

The material is relatively safe, but it’s delivered by a master with a flair for crowd control and spectacular use of archival video footage to top off an excellent show.

THE LIST

Breathless Irish comedian Delamere flits about the stage like a genial dervish, his quick-fire delivery and razor-sharp mind taking no prisoners. Quickly building a supreme rapport with his audience, his masterful control allows him to stray a little further than his charming demeanour suggests. Equally hilarious on and off his script, this is a hugely engaging hour.