Stephen Buchanan @ Pleasance Courtyard

Baby Dove is a well-crafted debut Fringe hour from reigning Scottish Comedian of the Year Stephen Buchanan

Review by Eve Livingston | 09 Aug 2019
  • Stephen Buchanan

Baby Dove is Stephen Buchanan’s first Fringe hour, but you wouldn’t know it from this thoughtful and well-pitched stand-up show. Exploring life as a 27-year-old living at home in Glasgow with his social worker mum and a Vietnamese refugee nicknamed Dove, Buchanan weaves anecdote and observation into a wider and timely message about tolerance and inclusion.

Buchanan’s delivery is self-effacing but confident, and his material original and well-crafted. There are relatable yarns about school bullies and millennial dating, but they are effortlessly built into a much broader narrative about living with Dove and the reflections about racism and media fear-mongering that this provokes. This is gimmick-free stand-up – save for a short Goosebumps-themed quiz that isn’t really about what it seems to be about – structured and paced with skill and confidence.

Easygoing and immediately likeable, Buchanan quickly strikes up a rapport with the audience, bantering good-naturedly and even taking disruptions in his stride. He has the air of your particularly funny friend recounting an anecdote over a drink, but he’s not short of intelligent political opinions, which are put across without preaching and with consistent humour. The punchlines come thick and fast but the meaning is never lost and the narrative builds to a satisfying and inevitably hilarious conclusion.

From this confident debut, it’s not hard to see why Buchanan has already scooped up a selection of newcomer and Scottish comedy awards. Baby Dove is a good indication that there may be more to come in the following years.

Stephen Buchanan: Baby Dove, Pleasance Courtyard (Cellar), until 25 Aug (not 14), 8.30pm, £7.50-10