Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sharp in word and politics

The Morning Star has published some more of my Festival reviews. Again, and for obvious reasons, they have amalgamated a number of reviews into one piece here. Here is one of the original reviews - of Elvis McGonagall's excellent new show.
Are you being Served?

Elvis McGonagall - Countrybile, the Stand in the Square. 1.40pm every day. until 30 Aug. 5/5

Performance poet, Elvis McGonagall launched his new show at the fringe. In a Yurt. In the St Andrew's Square Gardens. And he's dealing with the trials (and benefits) of living in the country. Be not afeared though, those of you who revel in his pointed political poetry, there's still plenty of that, particularly now " the Lib Dem stabilisers are off the Tory tricycle of doom!"

But the new show deals in more 'lifestyle' topics than pure politics, although that doesn't mean that targets aren't skewered. Kirstie Allsopp's self-help programmes, Mammals (or middle aged men in Lycra) and in particular the heartfelt lament of pub barstaff (Are you being served?) point to the truth of so-called rural idylls, and can make you lose your mascara laughing. Not that all is nasty in the woodshed. An lovely lyrical piece - Purbeck - the enduring isle - celebrates the beauty and persistence of landscape.

But politics will out, and Greece is the word and No more Mr Nice Guy - a hymn to Aspiration, plant us back in modern times. McGonagall's genius is his ability to hone his language into a a rapier-like instrument - and then to plant it firmly between the ribs that deserve it. "bend it like Blatter'" indeed!

Some more familiar material is woven into the show, from the litany of Scottish icons in The Scottish Lion's Rampant to the gangsta rap version of the Queens Speech - "Bessie in the big house" is indeed "comin' atcha"- and in the process displays McGonagall's gift for impression. We're left with the hint of hope. "Have the courage to be kind."

A top lunchtime treat. What's not to like? Go.

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