Rich Hall
Assembly Rooms

Rich Hall

It's a dangerous trick to title the show to look like a 'sold out' notice, but clearly it didn't fool the packed auditorium in the Ballroom at Assembly Rooms, a venue largely back to how it was in its heyday before the council decided to lease bits of it out to retailers.

He also tries to claim that this is his last Edinburgh, but he doesn't seem to convince anyone about this either, including himself. It's a rare Fringe when I haven't seen Hall in stand-up, in a play—sometimes that he's written himself—or just wandering the streets of Edinburgh.

His set is his usual mixture of comic songs, observational comedy and banter with the audience: "where are you from, feller?" He weaves stories around the bits of information he gets from them, which aren't usually complimentary, and even incorporates them into his songs. He got plenty of material out of the man from Israel on the front row and a couple from the US—for the latter, he claimed she hadn't laughed at all and imagined how the conversation would go between them when they got back home.

The man from the US also revealed he worked in insurance, which Hall incorporated into a song, and another person who worked with computers allowed him to sing "Broadband", greatly changed from the version on his Waitin' on a Grammy CD.

Of course there was lockdown, the desperation to perform again (not on Zoom) and a story about coming out of it with an outdoor performance in Indiana, where he was perplexed by the notice on the door that comedy "may cause anxiety". He also claims the English have some expressions that defy the logic of an American, with some quite convincing examples.

He is known for his dour, almost intimidatingly direct delivery, but he often softens and laughs, seeming to show that he is enjoying himself almost as much as us. It's a very funny hour that may offend supporters of Trump or Liz Truss at certain points and will certainly vary from night to night, but is recommended to relieve most people's anxiety.

Reviewer: David Chadderton

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