Reviewer: Matthew Forrest
As Iain Stirling introduced himself to those at the Lowry this evening, you could be forgiven for closing your eyes for a moment, as you are transported to sunny Mallorca and as far away from a chilly Greater Manchester evening, for Stirling is the voice of ITV2 smash hit Love Island. Despite being best known as the soundtrack to some of the British public’s summer, Stirling is an accomplished award-winning stand up currently on tour with his latest show: U OK Hun? X
Stirling begins the gig with a trademark ‘sarcy’ voice-over, before arriving on stage to slam the Manchester travel links: as a former resident of West Didsbury, he is all too familiar with how rubbish they are. Stirling works the room to see who’s in and to introduce the support act, Steve Bugeja. Bugeja packs a lot into his 20-minute routine, mainly focusing on his ineptness when dealing with social situations that include stag do’s, messy break-ups and a Copenhagen drug deal gone wrong. This is a fun, solid routine from a talented, likeable performer who does ‘awkward’ very well.
Following the interval, the Scottish comic immediately launches into the basis of the show: that being his struggle with turning 30 and seeing his friends doing grown-up, boring things like marriage, having babies and the worst crime of all; drinking wine slowly at dinner parties. He is clearly aggrieved by the impact this is having on his social life and his seeming inability to deal with it.
In addition, Stirling explores the various social differences between men and women, including how millennial women seek the perfect social picture media picture, whilst men seemingly lack an emotional attachment to their friends.
Despite an initial slow start, this was a thoroughly entertaining night of comedy: Stirling provides a fair and accurate portrait of modern day Britain with some bang on point observations. He is a naturally charismatic, engaging performer and this is mixed with a mischievous side: throughout he’ll launch into a an expletive riddled rant like a naughty school boy, knowing what he’s about to say may land him in hot water but doing it anyway.
The finale comes in the form of an embarrassing story from Stirling’s time as a children’s’ television presenter and is as hilarious as it is cringy. This show finale fully encapsulates his routine: great observational storytelling, with a hint of physical comedy and a hefty dose of ‘colourful’ language, the perfect way to bring the evening to a close.
At the start of the night, Stirling stated that his voice is more recognisable than his face and based on this performance, he’ll soon earn the reputation as one of the country’s most in demand and sought after comics.
Reviewed on the 24thNovember 2018