6 August 2011

Neil Delamere - Divilment

Neil Delamere: Divilment - Divilment, as the internet told me, is an Irish term for general mischievousness or shenanigans, and Neil Delamere sets his show loosely around this arguing that in the end, all we have left to enjoy is having cheeky fun.

Delamere manages to capture the essence of his Irishness without feeling cliched or that he was re-treading over exhausted subjects – even on the topic of Ryanair he had something different to say, while the show also covered laziness, practical jokes, cheeky drunks and getting himself out of trouble. His gags aren't revolutionary but they still often invoke belly laughs thanks to his adept storytelling skills.

These sets were interspersed with strong audience interaction, tonight exclusively British and Irish  – but as Neil points out, we are all friends now after the Queen's visit to Ireland, which subtly leads to a smart gag about the black balloons released in protest.

An endearing and friendly performer, Delamere 's charm helps him get away with some seemingly rude – or if you will, cheeky – interactions with the audience but his manner never comes across as offensive. His reasserting a question four times in increasingly exasperated and profanity-laden ways just generated giggles from the audience rather than hostility. A personal favourite was a brief slip into auto-pilot and asking a 16-year-old ‘And what do you do?’ before proceeding to ridicule himself for such a bad question.

It's a combination of his likeable nature, engaging storytelling and relaxing accent that could easily have him described as an Irish John Bishop. You find yourself quite taken by him, exemplified by a woman helpfully heckling other reasons why four people left at a peculiar point near the end, so as to prevent Neil getting bothered by it. So in the end maybe all we do have left is divilment, and Neil Delamere is certainly a personification of that.