Marcus Brigstocke: Je m’accuse – I am Marcus
An unexpected joy.
The first time I saw Brigstocke was a few years ago, where the hour was spent in what felt like the presence of a political presentation (he does like a rant). I was never a huge fan of him to begin with; his comedic demeanour had a tendency to feel unapproachable. So when I was offered a ticket to see him this year, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic, particularly since Scotland is currently sitting in a pre-independence referendum limbo.
Instead, I was privy to an hour of storytelling from his life. Admittedly, he is doing two shows this year, the other being used as a political vent (which I think is cheating). It is also the early days of the Fringe, so no doubt the show will continue to evolve. The most surprising aspect of the show was that I hadn’t anticipated to like him more.
For a set that was seemingly spontaneous – we were read a series of ‘headlines’ from his life and picked our favourites – the only problem was that it wasn’t. If you want the audience to construct the majority of the show, surely let them rather than telling the stories we didn’t ask for in between the ones that we did? Not that they were bad stories, but it seemed he wanted to talk about his youth more than anything else. If he wanted to talk about his younger, troubled self in its entirety and the reinvention he underwent, then that’s what he should’ve done. It is an incredible and heartwarming journey; no audience input required.
Upon reaching its conclusion lathered 90s techno, I left with a greater endearment to him, simply because of the genuine nature of the show. An articulate and non-stop hour; I’m glad I said yes.
Rich Hall’s Hoedown
This was my second hoedown, relocated from the Pleasance to George Square’s Spiegel tent. That was the first good rethink from last time. The bar was behind the audience, rather than onstage with the performers. Two thumbs up, a much smarter move. And a smaller audience. Give the man three cookies.
Sadly, he didn’t have all his comrades from before. But as ever, Mr Childs was present with his hat, guitar and slide, shoulder to shoulder with Hall and his keyboard. A good night had by all.
My only real issue with the Hoedown, an opinion held since the first, is that it feels like a copout; a show that blurs the line between his stand up and the shows of his alter ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw. Then there’s calling it a ‘Hoedown’. His opening gambit is “I don’t even know what the hell a Hoedown is”. Could have fooled me. The reality is that a hoedown involves dancing, no seats, a fight and, at the very least, one double time song. Ignoring the odd one out, if he really wanted people to dance, three of those would have been considered. Methinks he wouldn’t know what to do if people took him up on the offer.
All in all, a great way to end a night. Just try your hardest not to cringe when he suggests a boyfriend should propose to his girlfriend, brings out a ring for him only for the man in question to pocket it. Some people find that romantic. I, however, hid behind my cardigan. Didn’t block out the noise, but I felt safer.