Uncles (4 stars)


The Burnistoun boys hit the heights with a series of tall pub tales

Pub philosophers and bar-stool bullshitters are two a penny in Scotland. But few are as talented in keeping the banter going quite so hilariously as Iain Connell and Robert Florence, as they continue to unleash their post-Burnistoun creations on us. Often compared to a less profane Derek and Clive (though Florence in particular punctuates most of his musings with a volley of swears) and not-quite-so-dim Smith and Jones, their unnamed 'uncles' have the tallest of tales to regale.

Their stories feature everything from the perils endemic in attending a Glasgow gangster wedding to the all-round fakery of a primary school open day (where parents, teacher and child conjure up a forced triptych of unlikely perfect manners). Meanwhile Connell's dreams of finally turning out for his beloved football team relies on an epically convoluted series of events triggered by a world war with China and an industrial-sized programme of ex-player assassinations. It's a superbly barmy routine which cranks up the horror as his ambition gets ever more impossible (given his choice of club, it's a section which probably gets more of a reaction in the west of Scotland).

Taking a recognisable scenario and spinning it way out of control is their forte here, fully realised in the chaos of Connell's next-door neighbour's party bleeding (literally) into his own garden while the pair's corpsing feels natural and the ad-libbing inspired. Their passage about the pitied blacksmith who had to design Henry VIII's suit of armour without insulting the beheading-happy monarch might not be for everyone. Although the momentum does dip a smidgeon in the second half (routines about oral sex guilt and the perils of Viagra don't quite hit the high standards they've set earlier), there is still more than enough love in the room to keep things bouncing along.

Uncles is on tour until Sun 30 Apr; seen at The Stand, Edinburgh.

Robert Florence and Iain Connell: Uncles

Robert Florence and Iain Connell put the world to rights over a pint or two.

Post a comment