Our Lifestyle Editor Rachel Abreu reviews Joe Irvine’s one-man comedy show, Alternate.

As a first time comedy show attendee, I had already heard many great things about St Andrews’ comedians, but did not have many expectations of my own. Indeed, the Alternate comedy show, Joe Irvine’s solo standup performance, was a great place to begin my venture into St Andrews’ comedy scene.

The show began at 9PM, and even though I arrived before it began, the seats allocated for audience members were already packed. The show began swiftly and ran smoothly, setting up the show with an opening act by Tom Caruth and his range of impressions. This lasted for around 15 minutes until the star of the show, Joe Irvine stepped onto the “stage” at the Byre Bar.

Joe’s show was littered with silly impressions, some dry humour about family and relationships, and, perhaps my favourite bit of the evening – hand-drawn postcards with existentialist captions. Culminating with Joe literally dragging his body on the floor of the Byre Bar, the show was one that left the audience engaged from start to finish. While there were some jokes that to me, personally, were a bit hit and miss, there was never a moment of silence or a negative reaction, and Joe had excellent rapport with the audience members.

A perfect example of the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun”, the comedy show seemed to fly by and wrapped up after exactly an hour. There was even a sense that the audience was left wanting more, as they stayed glued to their seats until Joe had to ask them to leave – definitely the mark of a good show.

Like I said, this was my first time attending a comedy show in St Andrews, but if the rest of the shows will be of the same calibre as Alternate, it definitely won’t be my last.


Rachel Abreu