Note: This review is from the 2015 Fringe

@ Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, Edinburgh, until Sun 30 Aug 2015 @ 17:15

A great, lively hour for a beery Three Sisters crowd, with audience participation of the enjoyable, non humiliatory kind. Dowdeswell is putting together the perfect pub, and he needs you to help with suggestions. He riffs off what comes back at him – good lagers, a decent wine list, a heated beer garden, a mobile phone ban, and – on this occasion, to much hilarity – strippers.

Naturally, he’ll be facing similar suggestions every night, but the veneer of ad-libbing gives the whole thing an energy, gets the room going and balances out the set piece material, which is snappy, even if a few old chestnuts are wheeled out (someone feigning embarrassment at all the bottles in the recycling again). And it’s all wrapped together with a plea to keep our pubs alive. His Dad’s a publican, so it’s an issue close to home.

The simple idea catches on straight away, and while working round the room gets a little repetitive (there must be a way of breaking it up slightly), so long as there’s enough of an audience and Dowdeswell’s not nursing a hangover himself, there’s great comedy to be had. This afternoon’s crowd get stuck in, especially a quartet of beer-swillers at the back (“I can’t see you, but I can imagine you”) and everyone goes back to the bar a little merrier and thirstier. Job done.

See also our interview with James