Fringe: Al Murray: The Pub Landlord’s Saloon ****

Al Murray
Al Murray

Al Murray: The Pub Landlord’s Saloon ****

Assembly George Square Gardens

August 20-27.

An EU referendum, Brexit, a chaotic General Election, Corbyn, Farage, and Scottish independence ... the pub landlord is truly spoiled for topics to dissect.

The saloon opens to a huge queue that snakes out of the gardens and ‘way down the adjacent street – by far one of the longest I’ve seen at the venue this Fringe – and by the time we are all seated, his band is on stage warming up the crowd.

Murray, a master at audience interaction and mock bullying – he doesn’t so much invite participation as instruct you to get up and join in – charges through the crowd and wastes not a second getting this show started.

After all, he’s got so much material to choose from and only 90 minutes to cram in as much as he can; maybe a bit too much as the night also includes music, guests, and a game show.

The audience chat is top dollar all the way.

Murray plate-spins ‘em all superbly as he works the entire tent, even sending folk to the bar for a beer at his expense. The size of the venue and layout suit him perfectly.

As for the politics, Murray also mocks ‘em all as he decides it’s time to go back to happier times, 1955 to be precise.

He’s fast and furious as he rips through Brexit and the mess we are in – he could have delved even deeper – before going into an extended set piece on the history of immigration in which he barely draws breath.

Little wonder he takes a short break for his special guests – the wonderful Doug Anthony All Stars, a group he long been a supporter of – before returning for the daftest of audience games including one with a Christmas theme, which could have been condensed to give him more opportunity to sink his teeth firmly into a final wrap on his main theme.

Instead, he ends with a sing-song to bring him full circle rather neatly before the hard working Murray leads everyone out the door.

All in all, a decent pint.

Al Murray: The Pub Landlord’s Saloon

Assembly George Square Gardens

August 20-27.

Ticket info at Ed Fringe