Skip to content

FringeGuru

Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2012 arrow Marcus Brigstocke: The Brig Society
 
Marcus Brigstocke: The Brig Society
Published on Saturday, 11 August 2012
4

4 stars

Assembly Hall (venue website)
Comedy
2-12, 14-25 Aug, 9:10pm-10:10pm
Reviewed by Lynsey Martenstyn

 Recommended for age 14+ only.
 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.

BBC Radio 4 and panel show favourite Marcus Brigstocke is back, and he’s disillusioned. In The Brig Society, Brigstocke highlights what he perceives as the inefficiencies of David Cameron’s Big Society, through audience participation and the host's clever analogies. Existing admirers of the left-leaning, witty comedian won’t be disappointed, and the performance could garner further fans to join his legions.

‘Hello, Sir!’ Brigstocke strides up to a stern audience member. ‘Can you tell us a joke?’ Stern audience member stares at a smiling Brigstocke, and takes up the challenge.

‘Yeah’, he gruffly responds. ‘Knock, knock.’

‘Who’s there?’ Brigstocke responds, beaming.

The man looks at Brigstocke incredulously.  ‘I am’.

Brigstocke explains that this is an example of giving power back to the paying public, by letting us do his job for him – just as the Big Society intends to do (although the audience is not always as capable as that wit). The show is smattered with these well-crafted analogies, and is at its best when they work. Others include a participatory demonstration of causes of the banking crisis, allowing the audience to lose their own money in front of everyone.

The show features other events from current affairs: the crisis in Greece, the wealth of Eton School and tax evasion. For the latter, Brigstocke openly displays his distaste for Jimmy Carr; however, much of the mocking of other comedians throughout his set seemed uncalled for. This is somewhat countered, refreshingly, by a healthy amount of self-deprecation. Brigstocke points out that he, like Osborne and Cameron, went to boarding school and that his dad was a banker. He insists that it is wildly unfair that people in this position should make up the majority of high-positioned jobs, repeatedly pressing his political points.

A sizeable amount of time at the beginning is spent on asking arbitrary questions to the audience – for example, finding out where they are from, the eldest and the youngest and locating different nationalities. This felt below Brigstocke’s abilities and wasted time, as there was not enough time to carry out Brigstocke’s Big Society game.

And there are moments where Brigstocke crosses the line and does not back down. He spends a while imitating foreign accents, and insists that everyone is ‘a bit racist’. This train of thought did not have a punchline or a point, and dragged down the rest of the performance – which was so cleverly thought out, sharp and funny.

Overall though, this satirical comedy show is sure to please those looking for intellectual humour that lacks smugness.  Ever the showman, Brigstocke is his comic best when telling stories to the audience. His facial expressions, voices and a surprising ability to beatbox – along with his sarcastic and razor-sharp wit – make for an enjoyable evening.

<< The Death of Chatterton   Appointment With The Wick... >>

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2012 Five Stars

5 stars Comedy
Totally Tom


5 stars Comedy
The Magical Adventures of Pete Heat


5 stars Theatre
Bye Bye World


5 stars Comedy
Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers


5 stars Comedy
Truth


5 stars Theatre
The House of Shadows


5 stars Cabaret
Briefs


5 stars Theatre
Made for Each Other - Free


5 stars Comedy
Tony Law: Nonsense Overdrive


5 stars Comedy
Ivo Graham and Liam Williams


5 stars Comedy
Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff


5 stars Comedy
The Blanks' Big Break


5 stars Theatre
A Clockwork Orange


5 stars Comedy
Richard Wiseman: Psychobabble


5 stars Comedy
Martin Mor: A Man You Donít Meet Everyday


5 stars Theatre
1984


5 stars Comedy
Swedenborg, the Devil and Me


5 stars Theatre
The Trench


5 stars Theatre
Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut


5 stars Theatre
Joyced!


5 stars Theatre
An Evening With Dementia


5 stars Comedy
Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna


5 stars Theatre
Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke


5 stars Comedy
Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky


5 stars Comedy
The Horne Section - Live at the Grand!


5 stars Theatre
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found


5 stars Theatre
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle


5 stars Theatre
Songs of Lear


5 stars Cabaret
Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man


5 stars Comedy
Josie Long: Romance and Adventure


5 stars Comedy
10 Films With My Dad


5 stars Theatre
4.48 Psychosis


5 stars Theatre
As You Like It


5 stars Theatre
Appointment With The Wicker Man


5 stars Comedy
Jessie Cave: Bookworm


5 stars Comedy
Morgan & West: Lying, Cheating Scoundrels


5 stars Theatre
Hearts on Fire


5 stars Theatre
Rainbow


5 stars Comedy
Chris Dangerfield: Sex Tourist


5 stars Comedy
Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough


5 stars Theatre
Chatroom


5 stars Comedy
Peacock & Gamble Don't Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway


5 stars Theatre
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You


5 stars Comedy
John Robertson - The Dark Room - Free


5 stars Kids'
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger