May 22 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, September 16, 2012
A veteran stand-up act, this is Fred Macaulay’s first tour of England - but hopefully it won’t be the affable Scotsman’s last.
While it would be fair to say that his material isn’t exactly ground breaking, it is discovered with a warmth and wit that it’s difficult not to find endearing.
The oddities of budget airlines and the irritations inherent in using mobile phones are a couple of the topics that get an airing, and anyone who’s seen a few standup gigs in the last decade can probably guess the general contents. But Maculay manages to rise above that with a subtler wit than most, and a personable quality that papers over some of the cracks.
Life with his family - and particularly “Mrs Fred” - are also at the core of his act, but his strongest quips came when he went off scripts prompted by banter with the crowd, or in one case the apparently lightning romance of two audience members who hooked up in the interval.
A couple of routines on politics and a rant around railway customer service fell a little flat, but overall this was an accomplished performer comfortable in his own skin entertaining an audience more than happy to be in his presence.
As the gates to the Royal Hospital Gardens at Chelsea opened to the world’s media yesterday, with a frenzy of activity as photographers and camera crews vied for the best vantage points, there was also a very palpable sense of relief among the hundreds of nurserymen and women who have come to exhibit their prize horticultural specimens that their stands were complete and looking their very best.