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Marcus Brigstocke, Soho Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Marcus Brigstocke, Soho Theatre

Marcus Brigstocke, Soho Theatre

Observational comic gets some gripes off his chest

Marcus Brigstocke's new show was prompted by sadness in his personal life

It's striking what a broken heart can do for a comic. Not least it can provide him with some new material, but also make him take a step back to reevaluate what he has. In Marcus Brigstocke's case it led him into a horrible depression but happily, via some other byways, to this new show, Why the Long Face?, which started life at the Edinburgh Fringe last year.

It touches only tangentially on depression, but for longstanding Brigstocke fans the mention of it and the failed love affair (after Brigstocke's wife divorced him) explains this change of direction for a comic whose mainstay has been political observation and anger at the ruling classes. Any anger here is aimed at himself and, as he warns us, sending texts late at night that you can't show your partner is the beginning of the end.

He admits he listens to Elaine Paige on the radio without a hint of embarrassment or irony

Before we get to that point in the show, though, the old Brigstocke is much in evidence. There's so much in the world that makes him righteously angry – Isis and Ukip for starters – while other stuff just makes him angry out of all proportion; smug Jack Daniel's advertisements, people who vape and those who tautologically say “PIN number” or “ATM machine”.

He's trying to change that, he says, and is now a more positive person, while still managing to make some decent digs at Russell Brand, Gwyneth Paltrow and Mrs Brown's Boys, and asking those who own NutriBullets why they can't “fucking crunch celery like the rest of us”. There's a neatly constructed analogy about the political parties that's set in the school playground, where the weedy Liberal Democrat wants to be friends with the Tory bully, and some astute EU referendum material.

He peppers his act with spot-on impersonations (including a terrific Barack Obama), and rather touchingly admits he listens to Elaine Paige on the radio without a hint of embarrassment or irony. There are a few good callbacks and a cleverly set-up final joke which, on the night I saw it, included a tribute to the recently dead Prince.

The old Brigstocke was a comic who teetered on the edge of self-regard for some, but this version has more than a touch of humility about him, which many more fans will warm to. Breaking up may be hard to do, but it has given Marcus Brigstocke's comedy a new lease of life.

  • Marcus Brigstocke is at Soho Theatre, London W1 until 7 May, then at summer festivals
There's so much in the world that makes him righteously angry


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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