If there’s one man at the Edinburgh Fringe who doesn’t need a review, it’s Barry Cryer. The 80-year-old comic has seen so many phases of comedy history come and go that ‘four stars – “one to watch”’ is not going to help him much now. Besides, this show, in Gilded Balloon Nightclub, is already standing room only, despite all the grey hairs in the audience. Doesn’t half play hell with the arthritis, don’t you know.
Here Cryer is with his guitar-playing sidekick Ronnie Golden, initially meant as an injection of young blood to Barry’s act, now pensionable himself, for a set of comedy songs and quick one-liners. Some of the jokes are similarly knocking on a bit – the line about sex being great at 80, “I live at 82” was worn thin by Monkhouse, and some of the “…walks into a bar” gags need to be put out of their misery, though at least they’re delivered in a rapid compendium, so you don’t have time to dwell on the ones that stink.
In truth though, there’s a lot of zest about the set. There’s been no resting on laurels. The songs all seem like new material, and they amuse with a playfully photo-shopped slideshow of them with much younger performers – Barry Cryer in One Direction looks less weird than you might think. Needless to say, they’re also consummate performers – a room like this is onside in seconds. OK, there’s a song called Zimmer Frame Blues, but Fifa (set to the tune of Peggy Lee’s Fever) sums up the Blatter hoo-ha amusingly and a love song to Nicola Sturgeon, Queen of the SNP, is a nice, well-judged touch.
Maybe the indefatigable Cryer is no longer “one to watch”, but he’s certainly “one to have watched” at some point in your Fringe-going experience.