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Venue:The Counting House, 38 West Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9DD
Phone: 0131 667 7533
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: The Ballroom
AUG 2-12, 14-26 at 18:45 (60 min)
Show Image

Join this 'observational genius' (Guardian) for his 10th solo show! In 10 years he’s been married, divorced, happy, depressed and twice nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award. This year he’s taking stock and seeing if his life, in those 10 years of coming to the Fringe, has lived up to his expectations. You may have seen him on telly (Mock The Week, Comedy Central) and he’s 'ludicrously funny' (Skinny). Come along innit.

Click Here for Show Website

News and Reviews for this Show

August 18, 2018  Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
Carl Donnelly opens the show by playing a little game with The Counting House lighting.
A full range of colours are on offer, and he lets the audience pick the one that suits them. Bold, bright red is too weird, and blue is too depressing, so the audience settle on a comforting orange hue. It fits Donnelly’s act, which is warm, charming, and inoffensive.

Carl explains that after 10 years of attending the Fringe, he’d like to slow his set down and just sort of talk and ramble. And that’s exactly what he does, for the most part. There’s no cunningly structured gags that explode and resurface when you least expect them to, no intense audience interaction, and no mind-blowing moments. Instead there are anecdotes, observations, and a little social commentary, amusingly and sometimes cheekily delivered.

Class pops up quite a lot. Donnelly reflects on his origins as a scamp straight out the estate who once referred to the host city of the Fringe as ‘Ladinburgh’, and contrasts this with his present self who feels morally conflicted whenever a nice coffee shop pops up in his slowly-gentrifying London neighbourhood. Class links up with race: when Donnelly was a working class kid, he was around as many non-white kids as white kids, but in his middle class life now, nearly all his new friends are white. These are not shocking revelations, but Donnelly riffs on them well enough to get plenty of laughs.

Throughout the whole show, Donnelly comes across as a kind and reasonable man, consciously choosing to host a lower-key show than usual. It’s not a model that’s going to trump some of the wilder and more theatrical acts at the Fringe, but its one that Donnelly pulls off with casual ease. Click Here

August 14, 2018  Fest
Carl Donnelly is mellowing with age, he tells us. He's got married (again), he's become a vegan, he's even started birdwatching. He's still a laid-back cool cat though, so it's tough to say if this is the beginning of his descent into middle age or just a ploy for more varied material. Either way, it works.

Strictly Carl Donnelly! (so-named, I assume, because of the giant ballroom chandeliers that hover over his stage) is entertaining fare, but not quite at the level we might come to expect from the now TV-famous comic. He spends a large portion of the show dissecting the gentrification of London in a manner which, if you'll pardon the pun, feels a little hackneyed. What's more interesting is when he turns the satirical mirror on himself, and reflects on his own gentrification.

He's candid and funny on his own internal class hypocrisies, having come from a working-class background but now suckling at the teet of globalism — mostly in the form of soy milk. It's not just class struggles either; he's caught between middle age and the tempting pull of youth, between cynicism and optimism. There's plenty of engaging nuggets here but he doesn't mine them for nearly long enough, or work the seam of self-aware duality as he could.

His geezer-charm means that the crowd-work is still strong, but it's frustrating when he finds himself bogged down in well-worn material such as the pitfalls of stag-do's. The lines aren't always befitting of his comic talents, but those talents are still enough to carry the show. Click Here

August 4, 2018  The List
An hour that resonates when it stays fresh
The setting of last year's show may have been the 25-seater upper deck of Bob's BlundaBus, but for 2018, Carl Donnelly is back in a more familiar performing environment. Here, he reminisces on the past decade of his life, questioning the big changes that have resulted in him straddling the intersections between a middle and working-class identity.

Donnelly has a tendency to go off on tangents, as he readily admits from the beginning, and the majority of the time, these digressions slot in well with his observational-style comedy. But where this doesn't work is when the observation in question seems overused and all-too obvious. One example is in his reflection on Queer Eye, in which his study of the Netflix show is humorous but wholly predictable if you're a follower of memes and social media in-jokes of any kind.

Despite this, his skills as a storyteller appear to come naturally, especially as he relays tales of stag dos and proposals gone awry. It's entirely understandable then, how his ten years at the Fringe have included two Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations, numerous accolades and plenty of sell-out performances. As he returns to Edinburgh with this latest solo run, it's safe to say that Carl Donnelly's story is one that continues to resonate widely with audiences. Click Here

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