Tommy Tiernan – Under The Influence

This is possibly some of the wildest storytelling available at the Fringe, but doesn’t do much to revolutionise Tiernan’s controversial act. His soft dulcet tones as he ushers in latecomers and begins his show used to trick the audience into a false sense of security. What follows is a consistently rising barrage of madness, with topics ranging from religion, sex to the refugee crisis with no real linking material.

That may sound harsh, but seeing as the topic for sex was introduced by Tiernan high kicking thin air and screaming “SEX!!!” sans microphone it feels justified. This approach works better for some portions of the show than others, for instance the leap from drugs to healthcare doesn’t feel too ridiculous given a few well placed call-backs to themes mentioned in previous sections. However, even these fall foul of the predictable delivery of quiet then LOUD, that Tiernan utilises almost as a crutch for some of his weaker material, with one section where a crow’s screech is used in place of a punchline.

The final section of the show is where Tommy seems to reel back the mania and focus upon coherence within his comedy, and it’s only at this point does his show really come together fully. The audience of Tiernan loyal have laughed politely at most of the previous material, but upon a story regarding his GP, celery and a trip to Soho there’s are no stony faces left in the entire audience. It’s crass but very funny and completely impossible to predict.

Tiernan may not be trying too hard to reinvent his comedy in this year’s offering, but there are some genuine moments of hilarity present. If you’re looking for someone a bit off kilter with an arresting style, then look no further than Tommy Tiernan, just make sure to stick through the quality dips for the killer ending.

★★★ and a half

Patrick Dalziel

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