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Monday 31 March 2003
Truculent comic goes for the slow burn

Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne seems to be tiring at the end of a long stand-up tour, judging by Sunday night's show.
Our reviewer is less than enchanted with comedian Ed Byrne's idea of warming up his audience.
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By Abigail Uden

When the comedian comes on and has a pop at the numbers of empty seats there are, it doesn't inspire confidence - either in their ability to entertain you, or in how much faith they have in the crowd to respond appropriately.

And certainly when Ed Byrne walked out to introduce his support act, and spent less time doing material than dealing down a heckler ("Believe me, you don't want to attract my undivided attention mate"), it didnt bode well.

But by the time he'd changed into his shiny purple suit and cowboy boots and come out for his set in the second half, things were back on track.

This was after an interlude in which support act David Hadingham was given a fairly rough (ie silent) ride.

What you get in Byrne is a confident and engaging comic who uses his story-telling skills and soft Dublin accent to great effect.

The subjects might not be deep - a whole set about bed, sleep and the horror of having to get up, for example.

But there can be few people who have not followed the exact train of twisty logic he lays out, when pressing the snooze button for the fourth time.

Nor can there be many who cannot understand the sheer frustration of having bought a tank of tropical fish - because they are relaxing - only to dread the inevitable discovery that at least two have died each day.

Most memorable points: Byrne simulating sex with the mic stand and the post-set coda about giant pandas ("They're on the extinction list 'cos they don't breed 'cos they just look at one another and say 'Ahhh - let's just have a cuddle'.").

But maybe that's because both routines were at the end, when even the constricting atmosphere of a vast hall on a sunday night had worn off.

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