The Stand, Edinburgh, Sun 15 Mar; The Stand, Glasgow, Mon 16 Mar
‘Oh that’s a very strange bird,’ exclaims Alex Horne looking out of the window as he chats to me. ‘Once you start birdwatching, I tell you, any noise you just can’t ignore.’ Horne took up this leisure pursuit in 2006 when he had a bet with his twitcher father on who could see the most birds in the wild within a year. ‘I found birdwatching pretty impenetrable,’ confesses Horne. ‘I was brought up with it; dad would birdwatch everyday, always walking out with binoculars.’ Despite being his father’s passion, the desire to watch the feathered creatures clearly wasn’t flowing in Horne junior’s veins as he initially struggled with the project, but fellow twitchers helped him out. ‘They’re funny and knowledgeable and tend to be quite humble. I finally realised that they were my sort of people which was a hard thing to come to terms with because the more I went on the more I realised I was becoming like my dad.’
Becoming more like papa Horne he may be, but it’s a personality that’s served him well on the comedy circuit. His endearingly bumbling, hesitant and punning style went some way to earn him a Perrier Best Newcomer nomination at the Fringe in 2003 with his debut show Making Fish Laugh. Now, Birdwatching takes a similar format to his previous shows including the use of PowerPoint to illustrate, through amusingly low key graphics, his quest to spot as many of the 10,000 plus species in existence. And there’s a bird-naming test for the audience, some beat-box impersonations and even a few attempts at humour from Horne Snr.