It’s surely nigh on impossible to take a new angle on a subject which has dominated our news headlines for the past three years, so Mark Nelson sensibly doesn’t bother to try. Instead, Brexit Wounds is a gentle ramble around his own observations on the topic, with frequent diversions into his recent experiences of both middle class and middle age propped up by some excellent audience interaction.
Nelson has the unique gift of delivering abrasive lines in a non-threatening manner. Even on the scant occasions he lays into latecomers or those sitting in the front row, it always comes off as joshing rather than derision. A big fan of controversial humour, Nelson ventures into lower brow territory on more than one occasion, but his nice guy persona wins through even the darkest of gags.
Particularly effective are the times when he ties bigger events (such as Brexit) to mundane goings-on in his own life. He’s also careful to present a level-headed view of the subject, refusing to bully the single person in the crowd brave enough to admit they voted Leave and opting instead for a mature debate on the subject, laced with incisive barbs. For a show of its name, it’s less partisan than might be expected, although it’s still abundantly clear on which side of the fence his loyalties lie.
Elsewhere, lower hanging fruit such as Scottish sectarianism and the Tory party in general are given perhaps more predictable treatment, although it still elicits titters all the same. More rib-tickling than rip-roaring, Nelson’s accomplished delivery and easy crowd manner once again demonstrate why he’s one of the best stand-ups working in Scotland today.