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ED FRINGE REVIEW Iain Stirling, Onwards!


Iain Stirling, the voice of Love Island and before that, a familiar face on CBBC took to the Edinburgh Fringe stage with his fifth show Onwards!, which follows four sell-out shows.

As Iain mentions at the start of his set that was quite a career change. He went from reading out Emily’s birthday card on CBBC to watching Emily aged 19 having sex on TV and narrating it, with nothing really in-between.

Onwards! got better as it went on as Iain began the show a bit unsure with himself, but definitely warmed into his material. Perhaps it’s because it was his penultimate Fringe show and fair play to him he had been performing it every single night since the start of August.

At the very start he even noted the weird tension in the room, which if you think is part of his act, you laugh along with it, but (as many did) if you believe it then it can all get a bit awkward very early, but he’s able to win these people around.

I know from speaking to other people who have seen him that this is something he does with every audience, but there were certainly some confused audience members after the show who believed it.

So who is Iain’s target audience? Is it those who know him from CBBC? Or those who know him from Love Island? It’s definitely the latter. Iain describes himself as a millennial and that’s more-or-less who the show is targeted at, and as a twenty-something myself I could relate to most of his material. He speaks to an audience who wants everything, and wants it all now.

When I interviewed Iain in July he described Onwards! as “A very funny comedy show” and he was right to make that claim. His clever observation of millennial men using emojis and the pressure women face to take the perfect selfie has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Iain’s very honest in his storytelling. He describes babies in a way that no one would ever dare, he tells us the real reason he was able to achieve 800 steps on his Fitbit whilst asleep as well as the struggles he faces having sex with girls due to his current living situation... which is all fairness sounds a little bit tragic.

You can’t help but admire his honesty. His material is current, authentic and speaks to a generation who don’t have a lot going for them and as Iain proves, it’s OK to acknowledge this and laugh at it. If not, I guess the other alternative is to cry.

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