Stuart Goldsmith @ Monkey Barrel

Stuart Goldsmith applies his razor-sharp wit to the climate crisis in his award-winning show Spoilers... and the result is surprisingly optimistic

Review by Charlotte Chapman | 22 Aug 2023
  • Stuart Goldsmith

Veteran comic Stuart Goldsmith brings his climate crisis comedy show to the Edinburgh Fringe after winning Best Show at the Leicester Comedy Festival earlier this year. Packed with hilarious anecdotes about fatherhood and how to be a climate conscious parent, Goldsmith’s show strikes an impressive balance between the mundane and the macabre.

His many years in comedy announce themselves from the moment he steps on stage – Goldsmith’s assured delivery does not falter. He has the gift of teasing the audience without distancing himself from them, encouraging his viewers to poke fun at themselves in a gag about whether to turn the aircon on, which he kindly puts to a vote. But Goldsmith’s real talent is uniting a room full of strangers in the face of a legitimate and ever-present threat. His colloquialisms and familiarity quickly cultivate a feeling of community, as he asks his guests to purge themselves of their climate sins in a round-the-room confession. At its core, this is what Spoilers is about; the attempt to hold one another’s hands while also holding each other accountable for the unfolding crisis of our lifetimes.

He deserves much applause for balancing a routine of punchy gags with startling statistics. Goldsmith is able to deliver these facts with a lightness that does not detract from the severity of the situation, like a thread that he can pick up in a few minutes when the next joke lands. However, this thread begins to unravel somewhere after the halfway mark. There is a sense of a turning point, where previously well-timed punchlines give way to a sincere desire to educate the audience. While this note of genuine concern is not unwelcome, it does mean the jokes take a back seat as the show goes on to become more commentary than comedy.

His aim, as he tells the audience, is to provide a hopeful message amidst the doom and gloom – and ultimately he is successful in this. The core of Spoilers can be summed up in his closing words: "We’re only screwed if we think we’re screwed."

Stuart Goldsmith: Spoilers, Monkey Barrel (MB1), until 27 Aug, 3.20pm, £9-10