Review: Ed Byrne at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

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On a cold, rainy and windy evening in the heart of Portsmouth, Irish funny man Ed Byrne was able to lift some spirits at the New Theatre Royal as he brought his ‘Outside, Looking In’ tour to the south coast.

Ed didn’t have the help of a support act to help warm-up the crowd, instead opting for a theatre-like setup where he performed for almost two hours with a twenty minute interval to allow for drinks and toilet breaks. This is a brave move for a comedian, especially considering the weather, as it was completely up to him to turn frowns upside down from the offset.

This was not much of a challenge for Byrne however, as he was able to offer a laugh a minute from the very first second he stepped onto the stage. His level of observational and satirical humour is up there with the very best British  comedians and he was able to showcase his talents wonderfully in Portsmouth. The set centred mainly around family life, talking about his experiences as a husband and father to his two young children, discussing topics that any husband, wife or parent could very easily relate to. The predominately middle-aged crowd were clearly able to identify with everything Ed was saying, with everyone bursting into fits of laughter during and after every joke.

Ed was also very keen to get the audience involved by asking open questions that anyone could answer. Too often comedians focus solely on the front row and this can make everyone else feel a little alienated at times. Byrne was quick to proclaim however that he felt that everyone should have a chance to contribute, and welcomed inputs throughout the show, which was refreshing to see. Particularly during topics such as horrible first dates, or dating someone with very little intelligence, the audience were more than happy to share their own unfortunate stories with Ed and the rest of the theatre.

The Mock the Week star finished proceedings by indirectly tackling the topic of transgenderism. He told of how his youngest son had picked out which trainers he wanted in a Clarks store and wanted to show them off at every given opportunity. However on his first day at school he came home to say that he no longer wanted to wear the trainers because another young boy had told him that they were “girls shoes”. Now, the trainers were white with pink accents, so generically would be construed to be for young females. However Byrne was quick to explain that the children’s section in Clarks was not split into a “Boys” and “Girls” sections, which he applauded them for. He then finished by saying that he told his son something the great Eddie Izzard had once said – “You are the one wearing the trainers, yes? And you are not a girl, are you? So if you are wearing them, how can they be girls trainers?”

This brought the because applause and cheer of the evening, and rightly so.

Ed Byrne’s ‘Outside, Looking In’ tour continues and tickets for his show at Southampton’s O2 Guildhall on the 19th March can be found via this link.

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22 years of age and Live Editor here at The Edge. In my spare time you'll either find me on a basketball court dunking like Jordan (that may have been a dream...), going to gigs or attending stand-up comedy shows!

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