Vladimir McTavish: A Scotsman's Guide To Betting
Doing the Fringe show is a big gamble for any act, especially financially. Scottish stalwart had decided to spread the risk over a whole year by starting with £100 and seeing if some choice bets could turn it into the £7,000 which is roughly the cost of an Edinburgh run.
McTavish talks us through the ups and downs of his brief gambling career: novelty bets on football and politics; failing to learn how to bet on horses and greyhounds; the joys of betting in foreign countries. He's engaging throughout, a cheery, avuncular figure who can think on his feet and is supported by a well-thought out Powerpoint presentation. In fact, he's a bit like Dave Gorman's uncle.
There aren't any of the zany novelty bets favoured by other comedians doing this type of show, and it seems that McTavish genuinely hoped to win the cash. It adds a nice bit of tension to the show as the running total rises, falls and rises again and you can sense the personal stake he has in it. He maybe could have done with one huge, climactic bet to end the show, although his rant about Ryanair is certainly an adequate closer.
McTavish is established now as one of those acts you have to see every Fringe. A safe bet and a funny guy.
Vlad McTavish: A Scotsman's Guide To Betting, The Stand IV, Aug 4-28 (not 15th), 19:05, £7/£8