Nath Valvo @ Assembly George Square
No social nicety is safe from Nath Valvo's scathing wit in this high-energy return to the Edinburgh Fringe
Usually the realm of dour and deadpan comics, I’m Happy For You is an hour of cynicism and misanthropy given a new look in the form of Nath Valvo’s exuberant, gossipy delivery.
Hailing from Australia, where same sex marriage was recently legalised and where Valvo lives with his “nine out of ten” male partner, I’m Happy For You explores themes of family, social convention, and the familiar expectations piled upon thirty-somethings. Fine dining establishments come in for ire, as does his retired mother’s phone manner and the societal expectation that you should like your partner’s friends. Even WhatsApp group chats aren’t safe from his acerbic wit, and neither are the front row as a group of friends are consistently bantered with to hilarious effect about their own group dynamic and which of them is “the shit bitch”.
This is all fairly ordinary material, though Valvo’s energetic presence and sardonic performance ensures consistent laughs. He breaks up longer routines with interrupting jingles before a one-liner, and uses his physicality and expressive face to elevate the jokes, exaggeratedly pouting, bouncing across the stage and hopping from foot to foot as he delivers punchlines. There are moments of greater depth when he recalls coming out in his 20s and ponders whether he is ready for fatherhood, but this is ultimately a show built on relatable observation and the unapologetic airing of thoughts which the rest of us might share but be too polite to voice.
An exuberant and accomplished performer, Valvo holds the audience easily throughout an hour which is full of gags and laughs, if not any deeper meaning.
Nath Valvo: I'm Happy for You, Assembly George Square (Studio 5), until 25 Aug (not 12), 8.05pm, £8-11