Reivew: Michael Legge: What a Shame, The Stand Comedy Club II (Venue 5b)
What a shame there aren’t more reflections on shame as good as this. Michael Legge has channelled his bottomless capacity for embarrassment and the outrageous misfortunes he suffers daily into a captivating, mic-free succession of rants and “needless bitching”.
* * * *
Immediately cementing his status as a man apart at the Fringe, not one of those carefree youngsters outside in the sunshine or “pricks on stilts”, the Northern Irishman begins by revealing his month-old conversion to Christianity. A revival of the anti-abortion stance he held as a ten-year-old, this contrary position for the previously dedicated atheist permits him to get carried away on the self-righteousness of judging everybody while being over-sensitive to criticism himself.
Hardly subtle, it’s followed by the near-psychotic account of a stand-up engagement which turned into the train journey from hell, his anger escalating after a succession of humiliating incidents, the last of which he observes happening to a celebrity, a turnaround of sorts and a sign that instigated his belief in God.
Elsewhere, Legge wrings every last ounce of mortifying angst from tales of the social awkwardness of being mistaken for Dave Gorman, or his younger, better-looking and more successful actor namesake. He goes on the offensive, berating those comedians whose posters hype up an occasional panel-show appearance. But when he’s sat next to a stag party on a plane, he subverts expectations to reveal a sensitive appreciation of its exuberance.
Closing with an appeal to the audience to randomly choose from a selection of his absolute, most shameful episodes, eclipsing what’s gone before, he bookends a real blast of a show, one that struggles to keep on topic but is nevertheless aggressively entertaining throughout.
Legge may have used up a rich fund of anecdotes in its compilation, but you suspect he has plenty more tales to paint himself in an unfavourable light for his next festival appearance.
Until tomorrow. Today 3:30pm.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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