Steve Gribbin loves his job, and he's good at it. The problem here, I suspect, is that only a select few are able to enjoy his show for its very specific goodness.
He begins by announcing the show's narrative: a chronicle of his history with “music, comedy, and politics.” What follows is a well-balanced performance that ranges from the conversational to the snappy, from ‘ba-dum-tshh’-evoking one-liners and quips to any number of memorable turns of phrase (I particularly enjoyed the ‘panda-tear paté’ upon which he insists the wealthy feast). All of this is punctuated by Gribbin on the guitar as he belts politically-charged lyrics to upbeat melodies. Arguably, there are no identifiable dips in his performance, and the show’s focus and consistency offer a change of pace that is welcome amidst so many over-the-top performances (albeit understandably so, given the vast competition).
My one qualm is, unfortunately, quite large: Gribbin’s show requires an exceedingly-targeted audience. If you’re a politically-minded person of the liberal variety who happens to be looking for an intimate, light-hearted yet intellectual outlet in which to vent your frustrations with the aid of music and booze, then look no further. If, however, you find that description too exclusive to fit your Fringe needs, this is almost certainly not for you.
This review’s intent is not to knock Gribbin. From start to finish, he demonstrated an air of professionalism, ease and passion that made fans out of the most clueless audience members. The issue, however, is that the majority of the room seemed to fit into that ‘clueless’ category. Any number of factors may be at fault, from the venue’s severely-limited seating capacity to the ever-present and aggressive flyering that is most likely responsible for drawing in an inappropriately younger crowd. Thus, it seems this review can best serve to inform festival-goers in advance of the narrow demographic Gribbin’s show best serves. If you think you belong, then go see it. Gribbin seems like the kind of guy who could make you laugh and feel good in almost any situation so, if you know what you’re in for, I expect this effect will only be enhanced.
Steve Gribbin: Laugh at First Sight, The Stand Comedy Club II, 11-28 Aug, 7.00pm
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