Tim Minchin, AKA the coolest rock and roll nerd in the western world, has come to the Edinburgh Fringe with a completely new show, but the themes that we have come to expect from this astonishingly talented entertainer - comedian doesn't quite cover it - are all in evidence. Ready For This? is an unashamed love letter to rationalism; nothing gets this Aussie going like facts, evidence, and methodical analysis (except being thoroughly silly once and a while, of course, and thank goodness for that).
Among the topics suffering the slings and arrows of Minchin's musical ire this year are those who refer only to the Bible for their moral compass because they've been told that "it's a Good Book, and it's good, and it's a book", and the idea that love is anything other than a combination of shared experience and circumstance. When you realise that Minchin has actually been with the same woman since the age of 17, the song "If I Didn't Have You (Someone Else Would Do)" instantly takes on an extra piquancy, but it is testament to his lyrical dexterity that a song which contains the line "I don't think you're special" can also be touchingly romantic.
The only slight quibble one could have about this show comes, I think, from a quirk of the British psyche as much as any flaw on Minchin's part. It can be quite hard, sometimes, to have a guy with a microphone telling you how right he is about certain things, without a really healthy sprinkling of "but what do I knows" and "I could be wrongs". We just don't trust it. I suspect, however, that this minor issue will be sorted out on tour when the show is lengthened, and perhaps a couple of Minchin's self-parodistic songs are added.
But in the end, there's no real need for Minchin to be modest. This show is achingly funny and thoughtful, with a good dose of frivolity, and to watch Tim Minchin, one of comedy's most gifted performers, is always as much a privilege as a joy.