top of page
  • Writer's pictureLisa in the theatre

REVIEW - Liam Withnail: Chronic Boom (Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023)

Updated: Mar 7


Liam Withnail Photo credit: Rebecca Need-Menear

With his new show, Chronic Boom, Edinburgh based stand-up, Liam Withnail, delivers a blisteringly honest hour of personal, heartfelt comedy.

When life dealt him a chronic illness diagnosis and a 10 day stay in hospital for good measure, Liam had to reinvent how to write a comedy show. By splitting his set into 10 separate, 5 minute routines (one for each night in hospital) Liam felt he could manage to finesse the new material bit by bit, if he were to suffer a 'flare up' or end up back in hospital again. Not only has Liam done this, but his show is so well constructed, so well conceived and delivered - it's a triumph. Oh, and it's very funny too.

No-one else could tell this story; it's uniquely Liam's. And wow is he good at telling it! A gifted storyteller and charismatic host, Liam had the audience in the palm of his hands. It doesn't feel like 10 distinct acts; it all comes together seamlessly. The transition he uses to jump between the various 'days' in hospital is inspired, and it's obvious so much care and love has gone into creating this very personal show.

Some topics and some details were difficult to hear, and I'm sure difficult for Liam to divulge. Not only has he had to re-learn how to write a comedy set, he's having to re-learn how to live with Ulcerative Colitis 24/7. But first and foremost this is a comedy show, and Liam never lets the material get too heavy. Poignant and emotional yes, but such is his talent the laughter is never far away.

With Chronic Boom, Liam shines a light on the efforts that those with a chronic illness or disability have to go to just to live a normal life. It's some achievement that Liam has a show at Edinburgh at all this year, but there's no need for your pity: You shouldn't go see Liam's show just to be charitable, you should go see it because it's a clever, funny, fascinating tale of tests, toilets and tenacity. It's great.

It's also brilliant to see the lovely Christopher MacArthur-Boyd make a short cameo appearance at the start of this show. I knew he was a diamond and this absolutely confirms it.


When and Where?

VENUE: Monkey Barrel 2, 9-12 Blair Street, EH1 1QR

DATES: Wed 2nd - Sun 27th August 2023

TIME: 7:10pm (60mins)

AGE GUIDANCE: 16+ recommended


📸 Photo credit: Rebecca Need-Menear


🌟REVIEW - Liam Withnail: Chronic Boom (Comedy, Stand-up, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023)🌟

🎟️ Disclosure: I am an Edinburgh Festival Fringe accredited media reviewer and as such I receive complimentary press tickets in exchange for my honest reviews. My reviews and star ratings are always my honest opinions.

📧 For media and review requests contact

💗 To see more pictures and watch my videos follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram

Lisa in the theatre, Scottish Theatre blog, Comedy reviews


bottom of page