Marcus Brigstocke, Vaudeville Theatre | Comedy reviews, news & interviews
Marcus Brigstocke, Vaudeville Theatre
Unashamedly intellectual comic who loves a good rant
He doesn’t give atheists an easy ride, though; just as Brigstocke despises religious fanatics who apparently serve the same god but fall out over the silliest things, he also gives the absolutist Dawkins a thorough going-over for being insufferably smug. And to atheists who think they’re superior to religionists, he says: “You’re not cleverer than anyone else, so pack it in.” He lays into the misogyny at the heart of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. and dares - as a white, liberal secularist - to enter the burqa debate. Bags are for things, not people, he says, and those Muslims who think otherwise should “grow the fuck up”.
Brigstocke’s rants - I do love a good rant - are the best parts of the show. Not all are religion-based; this is a man who can be brought to frothing fury by iPhone users, the Daily Mail and even a seemingly harmless game of snakes and ladders with his daughter.
After the interval, the material is much less acutely argued and veers dangerously towards the sentimental. I don’t doubt that Brigstocke loves his wife, his young children, his parents and his grandparents, but there’s a little too much on how wunnerful they all are, and don’t kids say the darnedest things. But he also talks honestly about how the death of a close friend two years ago started the crisis of non-faith - the God-shaped hole in his life - that prompted this show, and how our love for one another suggests the possibility that we have souls. To wit, an indefinable part of humans that isn’t physical, mental or even spiritual, just the quintessence of humanity. I’m inclined to agree with the comic on this point, but I could do with less description of life chez Brigstocke and rather more, well you know, scientific fact, or even proposition, to support his argument.
If much of the above suggests this is a show short on laughs, it’s not. Yes, it sometimes feels more like a lecture than a comedy gig, but it’s smart and witty with plenty of well crafted gags. And even among the unashamedly intellectual jousting, Brigstocke tells the funniest fart joke I have ever heard, for which let us give thanks and praise.
At the Vaudeville Theatre until 11 February. Book tickets here
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Surreal fun from a delightfully playful comic
Short on jokes but long on charm
Terrific gagmeister who delights in giving offence
Amiable comic races through a disappointing set
Expertly executed magic tricks with old-school humour
No amount of fart gags and racing about can hide the cobwebs on these jokes
Joyous and raucous hymn to modern womanhood
Fearless foursome spoofs the poker-faced and the overblown in magnificent Menier transfer
The first lady of comedy whose biggest dread was an empty diary
Superb character comedy from Australian debutant
Winning shows at the Edinburgh Fringe
More from the world's biggest and best arts festival