Review: Jack Barry High Treason

The Mash House, Edinburgh until ​ August 28th

3 Stars (3 / 5)

A young comic of no little ability, Jack Barry is a man on a mission. A seditious mission to convince all you squares, through his well observed and at times surreal (shades of Izzard) humour, that the legalisation of all drugs would be a splendid idea.

A few nights into his fringe run, he delivers well for the most part, and is affable enough in that modern cheeky-chappie middle class way.

Trying to make a serious point through comedy is a trickier task than it seems. Is it an amusing TED talk, or an informative stand up routine? A hit blend of both Barry does not quite carry off. Beginning with the funny stuff, his set undulates gently along never quite getting the belly laugh pay off he’s clearly capable of. There are funny moments for sure, but more flab on view than at a weightwatchers meeting for naturists. The audience is on his side, willing him on, which always helps but he doesn’t capitalise on it. Commendably for a modern comedian he’s not afraid of pushing a few edgy boundaries of acceptability. Which is admirable and refreshing, but in the current professional offence taking climate may not be advisable.

Did he convince me of his premise? Well this square is already firmly in the legalisation camp. If Barry seriously wants to change some entrenched attitudes on the subject he’s going to have to do a lot more homework. Don’t start celebrating the end of the drug war yet, but all in all there are far worse ways to spend an hour at this year’s fringe.