The Very Best of Fred MacAulay

The Very Best of Fred MacAulay

King's Theatre

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Marianne Gunn

It is amazing how venues can change during the comedy festival. The previous evening, the King's Theatre was alive with whooping and virtual high kicking, whereas on Wednesday night that would've been likely to cause most audience members a major injury.

Support came from John Moloney, friends with MacAulay for more than 25 years (from their time on the UK comedy circuit) and trader in an unusual mix of the cerebral and the visceral that included some hen night gags about Marx, Hegel and Chomsky (not the easiest of achievements).

MacAulay took to the stage flanked on each side by larger-than-life banners and his new Fred logo, and warned his BBC Radio Scotland listeners to "strap in" as this was the material he couldn't get away with on Auntie's wireless. Quick-witted references to career highlights such as his appearances on Mock the Week or Radio 4's News Quiz and some of his charity work (the West Highland Way and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro) reminded a sparse-ish audience of his UK-wide appeal.

However the topic of September's referendum and banter about having dinner with the First Minister, found that they were not for taking the debate bait and interacting. Observations on "following the Norwegian model" were met with reasonable laughter, but his more contentious suggestion that "the Catholics are voting Yes" received more of a raucous reception.

MacAulay's sometimes outrageous observations ("Have you ever seen a non-obese lottery winner? That's why the cheques are so huge...") are coupled with the fact he remains eminently likeable. With friends and family in for this show, wife Aileen did not escape unscathed, although she supplied one of the best punchlines of the night.