This is Jason Byrne’s 13th year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and his popularity is without doubt - the queue for his Friday night show at the Assembly Hall was so long it snaked out of the venue and up the steps to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. The queuing all seemed a little unnecessary, as those who prefer to pass the time with a beer in hand easily merged into line and up the Assembly Hall’s steps, while those at the back of the queue struggled to find a good seat! Anyhow, Byrne’s show this year is called The Byrne Supremacy. This makes a good poster, but at worse the show bears no relation to the branding and at best it proves how far Jason Byrne is from being a refined secret agent!
X-ray images of broken bones from Byrne’s recent past form the backdrop of the stage; we are soon privy to re-enactments of how these injuries were sustained. The Irish comic’s act revolves around his Irish family, marriage, traits of the British, childhood and travel. The ability of Jason Byrne to vividly portray his tales, like his ’special eye’ or trips to the Disney theme parks, is surely his greatest comedic strength. To my own misfortune there are still unwelcome images of Byrne’s unfortunate incident while sat on the toilet in my mind! Jason Byrne swears a lot and interacts with the audience a lot, but none of this is offensive in the least - Byrne relies on a strong script and his frantically funny delivery to entertain.
A ‘magic’ trick towards the end seemed a convenient way for Byrne to get the show up to 60 minutes. Personally I’d have preferred Byrne to have extended his brilliant stand-up longer. However, members of the audience who hadn’t laughed as much as myself to Byrne’s scripted comedy seemed to revel in the farcical magic. So his show really does have something to offer everyone.
Having never seen Jason Byrne before I left with a clear view of Byrne’s Identity: a frantic paced, all action comic who delivers genuinely joyous comedy. Recommended.
Jason Byrne: The Byrne Supremacy is showing at Assembly @ Assembly Hall until 31st August 2009.