Stuart McPherson surprises you with The Peesh. A routine that seemingly starts off as a tale of boys-gone-wild grips the audience with vulnerability and a readiness to make us laugh about some of the challenges McPherson has faced in the past few years.
Using anecdotal humour and some tickling imagery, McPherson uses the vehicle of a group of men on a stag do trip to discuss tough topics such as death in the family, a break-up, and alopecia affecting his self-esteem. Displaying a refreshing frankness, he undoes the toxic masculine stereotype of being the ‘silent man with a stiff upper lip’. He intersperses these core stories with some fun observational humour about everyday objects and practices, such as the impractical design of the toilet brush and the cruelty in sending a long voice note. What especially stands out is him bringing into play a short slideshow to show us the exact moment he realised he’s got alopecia. He holds our attention and empathy, and then jerks us out of the serious tone with a goofy yet clever call back, garnering a surprise laugh. The intimate venue lends to his relatable presence on stage.
Perhaps it’s down to the performance being near the tail-end of Fringe, or an afternoon slot midweek, but there does seem to be a dip in the enthusiasm level of the audience, which in-turn seems to affect McPherson’s energy a bit on stage. However, it’s clear that this is skilfully written show. The ending, involving a last slide left on for us to read and laugh at as McPherson exits the room, was a great stylistic touch. The Peesh is an enjoyable show by an exciting voice in the Scottish comedy scene and should not be missed on its hopeful tour through the country.