Sunday, July 21

Iain Stirling: Relevant – Festival Theatre

And, it turns out, good friend and co-writer Steve Bugeja, so more like a double-bill. The two were responsible for Buffering, a TV series that ran from 2021 to 2023, residing now, jokes Iain, amongst the ads on ITVX. It’s doubtful he’s lost much sleep over its demise, proud possessor of a 15-year career that started with CBBC in 2009, taking in presenting, stand-up, writing and acting. Not to mention the narrator’s role on ITV2’s cerebral masterpiece Love Island. Nor Taskmaster, Loose Women and Gogglebox… however, propelled atop a wave of youthful energy, at the age of 36 he’s beginning to wonder if he’s still ‘relevant’.

Bounding on to the stage to warm up the audience, Iain announces Steve, who ponders, following a recent break-up, the topic of ‘the ick’, Dunfermline and an awkward encounter with a cannabis biscuit in Copenhagen. Never mind that said biscuit was designed for sharing between six (he devours the entire thing himself), the chief issue concerned the comestible’s lactose content. Some stomach-churning, truly ‘ick’ details followed. The theme was reprised later when Iain conveyed his exasperation with posh coffee shops’ obsession with milk alternatives. Especially when compared to the unfussy fare on offer from your local McDonalds.

Iain jogged, skipped and stalked about the stage but contemplations on the sexes, Scotrail, Cafes and modern working practises, husband/wife/mother/father relationships were nothing revelatory, challenging or thought-provoking. The language was X-rated, a fair dose of scatology featured but the funniest bits were when he dealt with some (admittedly ill-prepared) hecklers; it was here that we caught a glimpse of the sharper tools at his disposal but blending the use of these into an act of comic craft designed for a larger, mainstream audience is an almighty task. Entertaining he was but hopefully there’ll be more to come as he continues to adjust to ever larger levels of success. For now, was he ‘relevant’? To a Friday night audience at The Festival Theatre (Hamilton happened here!), Yes.

Reviewer: Roger Jacobs

Reviewed: 31st May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.