Comedy review: Nick Revell: Closet Optimist, Glasgow

Nick Revell

Nick Revell

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ONE of the true, steadfast veterans of political stand-up in the UK, Nick Revell has been fighting the good fight for decades.

Nick Revell: Closet Optimist - The Stand, Glasgow

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And yet somehow, despite his sardonic cynicism, he’s hoping against hope that things will improve. In this early, work-in-progress performance at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, he admitted to feeling jaded about the world. In the past, he’s occasionally been guilty of prioritising point-scoring over punchlines, playing up to audiences who share his left-liberal leanings.

Yet although a bit rough round the edges, and with a few routines that are better argued than piercingly funny, Closet Optimist builds to a satisfyingly passionate head of steam. What’s more, there’s an atypical scope of ambition in some of the complex ideas that he’s striving to express. Notwithstanding the stirrings of his class consciousness growing up in Yorkshire and a few digs at the sexual dysfunction of Saint Jerome, the proud Londoner is impressively committed to topicality as well, topping a few gags with sly references to the Crimean situation.

His finest moments tend to revolve around train journeys though, standing up to anti-Semitism from football supporters or the racist, disablist persecution of a fellow traveller. Swift to mock his own right-on sensibilities and personal weakness, however, he’s as self-deprecating as he is cutting on Scarlett Johansson, preferring her commercial contracts to representing Oxfam. And ultimately, his abiding message, appropriated in his youth from The Situationists in Paris, that “anything is possible”, is sustained through his anger.

Seen on 18.03.14

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