King of the erratic, alternative and absurd, Andrew O’Neill returns to the Free Fringe, this time armed with a determined political stance. He is not unique in that regard, but his optimism certainly is. O’Neill malevolently fuses this cautious hopefulness through a set full to the brim with diabolical humour, in his own brand of meaningful nonsense.
With his imposing tattoos and face paint, O’Neill looks like he has crawled out of Earth’s charred remains after opening onstage for Satan. This larger-than-life character, who could easily be allowed to rampage uncontrollably, is instead aimed towards a very specific goal. He has a message of revolutionary hope to share with his crowd, delivered with wicked jokes and kicking with life. O’Neill tells his crowd, who are hidden in the dark while he basks in dim light, that just attending his show is a sign of desiring change. He even puts a strangely positive spin on Brexit; just one way that O’Neill’s set is a one-of-a-kind experience,
The crowd howl with diabolical laughter at his outlandish antics, while O’Neill struts around the stage bounding from one moment of madness to the next. His strange contrasts, messages and rants that start with despair end with jokes. His humour is full of promises and a call to action. He occasionally goes down a darker path, yet somehow still keeps the audience in a constant state of elation – his rant about mugs and sinks is a particular highlight. As he tells one crowd member, “it’s hard to make this shit funny,” yet O’Neill effortlessly makes it out to be the genius ramblings of someone who knows exactly what’s wrong with the world, and is prepared to laugh in the face of doom.
You will not find a finer comedian committing themselves to the Free Fringe in 2019. The audience will not stop hollering with joy as O’Neill hurtles through his comedy, never dwelling too heavily on the negatives. He keeps up a furious pace to the show, with dead set belief underpinning his words and a raw talent for writing that cannot be ignored. Infectious, weird and opinionated, he is the voice of the necessary change that the entire festival would do well to listen to. You will have an absolute ball doing so.