Theatre review: Mark Can’t Rap, PBH’s Free Fringe, Edinburgh

Former English teacher Mark Grist found fleeting fame, including mentions on Channel 4 news and in the Daily Mail, with a viral Youtube clip of him in a rap grapple with one of his former pupils.

Grist shares his dedicated efforts to produce a mixtape

Mark Can’t Rap, PBH’s Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth (Venue 156) * * *

Grist certainly makes an incongruous rapper – but then this Unst-born, Peterborough-based poet wouldn’t describe himself as a rapper at all.

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However, he is determined to convert his love of hip-hop and the discipline, metre and language of rap into at least a passing ability, and he shares his dedicated efforts to produce a mixtape over this amiable, and at times amateurish, hour, where the rhymes are sometimes tortuous and the tech occasionally fails him.

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The ineffably polite Grist has a shy, sincere charm that sustains him through the haphazard trajectory of the show, in which he canvases advice from experienced players on the rap-battle scene, gets the audience’s rhyming skills flowing and ultimately finds a way to be true to his middle-class, mid-life-crisis voice, while accessing elements of personal adversity to give his music a teeny tiny touch of edginess.

Until 18 August