EDINBURGH 2023: Review: LIAM WITHNAIL: CHRONIC BOOM, Monkey Barrel

Liam Withnail: Chronic Boom runs until 27 August

By: Aug. 15, 2023
Edinburgh Festival
EDINBURGH 2023: Review: LIAM WITHNAIL: CHRONIC BOOM, Monkey Barrel
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EDINBURGH 2023: Review: LIAM WITHNAIL: CHRONIC BOOM, Monkey Barrel

Chronic Boom is a brand new comedy hour from Edinburgh-based comedian Liam Withnail. 

Liam had been unwell for a while and in October 2022 he was admitted to hospital. He has a type of inflammatory bowel disease called ulcerative colitis which can cause flare-ups at any point- not ideal when you’re a self-employed touring comedian.

This is a very, very funny show. It’s also an extremely empathetic one. Liam Withnail is a gifted storyteller and has the audience on side pretty quickly. It’s not the good ol’ “comedy show surprises audience with a sad bit at the 40min mark before wrapping up nicely” trick. Chronic Boom starts with the sad bit, his hospital admission and chronic health conditions don’t really have a firm conclusion.

What makes this such a wonderful show is the sincerity of it. Liam does play with the audience slightly, avoids some obvious cheap gags but he is honest about how this condition has affected him. He charts his hospital stay on a whiteboard which is repetitive- but that is the point. Long hospital stays are boring as well as scary. 

Without giving too much away, the structure of the show is extremely clever. It also gives a lot of insight into ulcerative colitis and invisible disabilities in general. Don’t get me wrong, there are also some pretty funny poo stories in here and this is a very well-crafted hour of comedy.




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