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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Chris Coltrane: Compassion is Subversive
Chris Coltrane: Compassion is Subversive
Published on Sunday, 11 August 2013

4 stars

3-12, 14-24 Aug, 3:30pm-4:30pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.
 Recommended for age 16+ only.

Chris Coltrane, bisexual political activist, is back in Edinburgh – in the same room, in fact – with more tales of his left-wing derring do, presented with boisterous charm and high-energy wit.

A lot of his material relies on the internet, and if you follow the comedy and activism twittersphere some of his material may be familiar.  But recognising the background is fun, and Coltrane is confident enough to make the stories seem fresh. “Homophobic Tories says the funniest things” may seem like an easy ride, but I did find myself laughing a lot at the examples.

Coltrane shows the results of a solid year of gigging between this show and last year’s; the content covers the same ground but he is much, much better. He’s more confident on stage, tighter and with better timing. We need more left-wing comics delivering this kind of material with easy confidence, and Coltrane is well on his way to filing Mark Thomas’s boots.

But his upbeat enthusiasm can occasionally seem a bit too pleased with himself. At one point he starts high-fiving the audience after a one-liner about how God plainly wants us to be gay, because of the enticing features of the male member. Well, hang on. I’m attracted to men, but I’m not gay – I’m a woman. And there are gay women who aren’t attracted to men at all. I’m quite glad he didn’t try and make me high-five him, but then I worried that not joining in seemed like I was on the side of the homophobes. I expected a bit better of Coltrane than to pigeonhole sexual preferences in this way.

That, though, was a small speed bump on a cavalcade of joy. His final tale is quite wonderful, with the thrill of success snatched from the jaws of failure – but in a way you would never expect.  Coltrane says the title of his show has been dismissed as a Josie Long reject… but with Josie missing from the festival this year, Coltrane seems like a very suitable replacement.

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