Donnelly has whipped up yet another solidly hilarious hour of his now-trademark laid-back style of comedy. This year's material focuses mainly on his time dealing with anxiety and depression, but Donnelly reassures us that the show is not nearly as bleak as the blurb has made it out to be.
While depression is much more than just feeling down, you really can't blame Donnelly if he's deflated. A broken marriage followed by a divorce is awful at the best of times, let alone just before a full run at the world's biggest arts festival – which was the situation he found himself in a year or two ago. So far, Donnelly's keen observational eye has been able to turn these events into ripe comedy fodder, but now it's gone further than the funny side to a break-up; this is the fallout of the fallout.
What's most striking about Donnelly is his brutal honesty. For him, it seems, being on stage is more effective than any therapy session. He goes as far as confess that the persona we see is far more honest than he is off stage; is this because he is more in control of the situation? Perhaps. He certainly keeps the crowd hanging on his every word, smashing his way through a series of anecdotes describing his personal anxieties over body image, evolving as a modern man, and his conscientious attempts to appear less creepy towards women on public transport.
For the most part Donnelly manages to keep this set about depression and breakdowns relatively light. But bleakness does creep in when he brings up the mixed feelings he has towards being spotted outside of the comfort zone of a gig, a story which culminates in a dark, harrowing yet brilliant stalker tale.
Now within touching distance of the end of this mammoth run that is the Edinburgh Fringe, Donnelly still has an ease about him, one that relaxes the audience to the point where no one is uncomfortable hearing these essentially tragic stories. But then, as Donnelly points out, no one wants to hear a sex story that ends well.
Is there a happy ending in sight for Donnelly? Is happiness even possible, when you spend so much time alone in hotel rooms? He argues that comedians are some of the most levelheaded people he knows – after all, it's much healthier to reveal anxieties into the microphone rather than keep them bottled up inside. And so long as he keeps doing what he does so well, he'll always have a crowd willing to listen like attentive therapists… albeit that they also laugh.