Matt Rees’ Happy Hour is a funny, laid-back and not completely serious show about alcoholism. In a recent interview with The Guardian Rees stated that his addiction nearly killed him, and it’s clear that since he stopped drinking over a year ago his recovery has been painful. There are dark moments in the show, befitting his ‘back from the brink’ tale, but these are few and far between. Rees’ composed delivery and quick gags prevent things from getting too maudlin, and his stories of being an alcoholic on the stand-up circuit are too funny to be kept to himself.
Rees primarily deals with one-liners and weird stories from his life, cushioning the addiction dramas and keeping it light. Facing a slightly self-conscious audience herded into a small hot room on the first day of the Fringe, Rees always managed to keep everyone on his side, even if some of his edgier one-liners elicited shy responses. Belying his dry demeanor, some jokes were on the gross side, splitting opinion in the audience. Ultimately though, the material is solid and the jokes are plentiful, and he always bounced back.
★★★ (and a half)