Rob Oldham @ Pleasance Courtyard
Rob Oldham's fine debut is best when he goes offbeat
This might be Rob Oldham’s debut Edinburgh hour, but it’s a pretty confident one. The initially unassuming young Londoner has pieced together a show with a tried, tested and self-aware structure, hoping it all hangs together long enough to get him to his finale about Latvian javelin throwers. In the most, it does. Reasonably fresh from university, Oldham is already reflecting on the nature of current events through a window of nostalgia for better times gone by, a game so beloved of observational comedians but a tricky task to pull off with confidence when you’re only 23 years old.
The novel tone and poem-based approach might help get that material across with a level of originality, but the return to by-the-numbers Brexit critiques and why-am-I-unlucky-in-love routines gives the show a feeling of having been curated to appeal to a wider demographic.
Certainly, the young-ish crowd approve, but Oldham’s moments of so-called "millennial angst" just aren’t that angsty. In particular, a piece about guns takes an unusual “fundament”-al turn that quickly runs out of steam.
Oldham is best when his idiosyncracies are allowed to shine through – the aforementioned finale is the definite high point of an hour where the more offbeat he allows himself to be, the more promising his career looks. Hopefully, we'll see more of Oldham taking risks – he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
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