Stuart McPherson @ Monkey Barrel

Love That For Me encourages audiences to both laugh at and root for Stuart McPherson's winding journey from singledom to self-love

Review by Charlotte Chapman | 29 Aug 2023
  • Illustration

Actor, writer and stand-up Stuart McPherson (of the BBC's BAFTA-winning comedy Scot Squad) returns to the Edinburgh Fringe determined to spin a devastating break-up into comedy gold. Love That for Me is a thoroughly entertaining glimpse into the world of a recently-dumped, newly thirty-year old comedian at a very hazy point in his life. As the title suggests, the theme of the show is self-love, though it also offers a surprisingly profound take on men’s mental health, and the struggle to truly appreciate your own company. McPherson is, he proclaims, trying to find out what happens to a ‘wife guy’ when he ‘no longer has a wife to guy’.

McPherson does not hold back. The comic bares it all, from conversations with his therapist, to his ex-girlfriend leaving him for another, more famous comedian. The last year has given him so much content, that at one point McPherson simply reads off the highlights and lowlights of his experiences as a singleton with a sort of I-can’t-believe-it-either delivery. His disarming honesty is endearing, and his easy charm makes otherwise winceable moments laughable.

Though the structure of the show is somewhat tangential, McPherson's more mundane stories are still thoroughly entertaining as a result of his familiar, friendly delivery. The absurd experiences are in themselves hilarious, but some of his best moments are during off-the-cuff interactions with the audience. It is here that his quick-thinking and wit comes to the forefront – at times, McPherson's rambling pace betrays him, and not all the material is easy to squeeze a laugh out of.

Regardless, it is clear to anyone who attends Stuart McPherson’s show that he has a talent for self-deprecating humour, and a real gift for storytelling. As his therapist continues to tell him, the only love worth having is his own – though for now, his adoring audiences will just have to do.

Stuart McPherson: Love That For Me, Monkey Barrel (MB2), run ended; follow Stuart on Instagram at stuartmcpherson_