Ed Byrne – Crowd Pleaser – 27 April

Those of you who regularly follow our site may recall that back in the end of October last year I didn’t review Ed Byrne when he appeared at the Edinburgh Stand as part of his Warming up in the Cold Tour as it was a work in progress for the major 2011 tour ‘Crowd Pleaser’ I can tell you know that I thought it was the best show I had seen from this charismatic Irishman so I am now delighted that the restraints have been lifted as the proper version rolled into Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre last night as the tour continues.
Now it is not unheard of for major touring shows to have a warm-up act prior to the main event. But what is unusual when Byrne does have an opening act, it is Ed himself who opens actually warming up the crowd for the warm act, something that I have always thought of as a nice touch, so it was little surprise that along with around 750 other liked minded souls I was in place to see the entertainment unfold.
Byrne took to the vast Alhambra stage and for the  first ten minutes or so did oh such a great job of loosening off the chuckle muscles, stretching the stomach muscles for the belly laughs to follow and generally getting the atmosphere spot on for the night.
It was the task of Karl Spain to do the opening set. Now Spain is a big name in his native Ireland, but less so over here. I have seen this excellent comedian though a number of times in various Edinburgh Fringe Festivals so knew what a high standard to expect and I’m delighted to say not only did he achieve this, he surpassed it by far. Everyone I spoke to afterwards thought he rocked his set. He certainly has garnered a whole host of new fans that is for sure.
As usual the native of Limerick had a well crafted set, packed solid with quality material all delivered with style. There is a reasonable amount of Irish based humour, their successful cricket team, his home town, the celtic colouring and life style were just a few of the topics, but other sections on practical jokes, Facebook visits to Thailand together with the occasional bantering with the audience gave plenty of scope for this well-rounded and hilarious opening set.
Following the interval giving the public a chance to catch their breath and replenish their glasses, Mr Byrne returned to the stage and proceeded to rule the massive room for the duration of his all to short set.
Now it was more than a few years ago that I first saw Ed perform, probably in the late 90’s and from that moment I have been a fan. Numerous live gigs topped up with the frequent doses of TV such as ‘Mock the Week’ and ‘Have I got News for You’have kept the pot boiling, but there is nothing to beat a live performance when he is on fire, as he is with this show. I loved what I saw in the preview back in October, but whereas the essence of the show is the same, the added polish that has been added since then does make the difference.
Ed has changed a little over the years and as  married man with a brand new addition to the family, his baby son Cosmo, has opened up a whole new avenue to the Byrne experience. He is as always witty, able to respond to audience interaction, delightfully engaging and belly laugh funny, but there is at times a slightly gentler side to his show these days. What has not changed is his ability to construct and deliver in excess of an hour of the very best comedy material anyone could ever want.
Some of the topics that he expounds on include geeks, the baby experience, camping, inappropriate clothing on kids, religion and animals, and boy does he have some lines and laughs built-in though out.
ED is still on tour for a while yet so to see if he is playing anywhere near you, and if he’s not travel, then check out his website www.edbyrne.com and for forthcoming Alhambra shows visit their website www.alhambradunfermline.com
Reviewed by Geoff   Photography by Colin Young
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