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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 Review: Hal Cruttenden

York alumnus and seasoned comic charms the audience with impeccable Fringe wit in his latest show. Amy Bishop reviews

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Hal Cruttenden  64

Venue: Pleasance Two

After making his way up the comedy ladder from small comedy clubs to the Royal Variety Performance and hosting Live at the Apollo, Hal Cruttenden proves in his latest Fringe show how his slick and upbeat comedy style keeps the audience laughing from start to finish, and why he is one of the biggest names in British comedy at the moment.

In his new show Straight Outta Cruttenden the comic enters the stage to NWA's Straight Outta Compton, an unlikely inspiration for the middle class, public school comedian. He then opens the gig with jokes about Scotland, in particular the recent Scottish referendum - a favourite area of humour for comedians at this year's Fringe.

Through the hour of the show Cruttenden covers topics such as getting old, dealing with teenage children, marriage and the age of continual Facebook updates by people on every aspect of their lives. In this show the usually clean and harmless comedy that you find in most of his shows did seem to turn more daring, which some members of the audience might not have been expecting. However his likeability and his obvious intention to cause no offense means that he pulls it off well and more often than not, the audience finds the funny side.

At occasional points in the show Cruttenden even aims to put the world to rights and talks about his opinions on sexism, LGBTQ rights and the preference of state schools over private schools (at least for other children except his own). Sharing his thoughts on these issues in a humorous way helps the audience to connect with him, especially if you share his liberal views.

Interestingly Cruttenden also made reference to how he was a student at the University of York, and made the observation that despite being in the north it is "that middle class it might as well be Surrey".

Even though he describes himself as a middle aged comic he does manage to engage with the younger people in the audience by reminding them of how they will get old and need to appreciate being young. He does this through his hilarious segment on how you reach an age where you finally have enough money to get a great car, but the middle aged driver in it isn't looking as good.

His show is thoroughly enjoyable to watch, his observation comedy is relatable, and his acknowledgement of the ups and downs of his own unthreatening nature are both entertaining and refreshing.

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