Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

You can expect consistent chuckles all round when Alex Smith takes the stage. While there are only a few moments for a guffawing, belly-shaking laugh, Smith’s comedy is funny, sometimes witty and good for a bit of afternoon entertainment.

For his third show at the Fringe, Smith embarks on a mission to discover what constitutes a “real man”. However, we don’t learn of this until part-way through his routine. The first 20 minutes searches the packed audience for funny but easy laughs on the Scottish hating the English. While most of the first part is humorous (bar a sex offender joke) the audience is left wondering where exactly it’s going.

Still, when Smith does properly introduce the show’s concept, his self-deprecating quips on his teenage self and posh antics give the audience a right old giggle. The golden moments come when he engages with the crowd, particularly with a couple’s active sex life and a front-row member with a rather upper-class name. It’s these spur of the moment jokes that earn some of the biggest laughs during the show.

At times, however, Smith has umpteen trains of thought going at once, sometimes related to previous content. It can become confusing for the audience, especially if there’s limited time to make the link to a former gag. However, this was Smith on the first day of his run, so no doubt this will tighten up quickly.

The ones that do work are polished with good timings, well deserving of a chuckle. Smith also pulls on his virtuosity to deliver a couple of tunes on the guitar; turns out he’s actually a really good singer, “talented enough to be on X-Factor”, as he puts it.

His finale song beautifully ties together the whole show, with clever lyrics to bring all previous jokes together. It’s a cheery hour at Whistlebinkies.