Marcus Brigstocke has been addressing audiences in some form or another for twenty years, so it comes as little surprise that he knows his audience. Having made his name in stand-up comedy and radio, amongst other things, he has adopted a new method for his Devil May Care tour, and it involves a lot of body paint. Brigstocke adopts the persona of Lucifer himself, culminating in a social commentary derived from hell itself (and a rather scary promo poster). This kind of character comedy is unfamiliar ground for Brigstocke (as he notes himself during the show) and for the large part he pulls it off very successfully.
Decked out in red colouring and devil horns, Brigstocke’s set is based on the increasingly complicated notions of sin and what does or does not get you into hell. It is a typically British discussion, queue jumpers being one of many destined to burn for eternity. This exploration of sin intertwines with more contemporary references than the Book of Genesis. The result is a grin-inducing mockery of all sides of the political spectrum.
It is both exactly what you do and do not expect. Brigstocke pulls off his new stunt well, filling the role of satan with eerie panache. He is clearly enjoying himself, with an energy and buzz on the stage that you feel sitting in the audience. As for content, his character allows him to approach things from different angles, although his jokes do not differ hugely from what he could have said in a more traditional stand-up piece. The look is inventive even if the humour isn’t.
Brigstocke’s jokes are largely based on certain references that may escape certain onlookers. There is a very good reason why he takes a fancy to picking on a twenty-six year old in the front few rows – he is one of the youngest in the room. Some of the humour then does go over certain heads, but when he hits a nail on the head Brigstocke is met with rapturous applause and glee. Devil May Care has its really funny moments, but it is not consistent enough for all those watching. The majority of his wit is met with chuckles and smiles, but nothing more.
Brigstocke has many fans out there though, and they will not be disappointed. He has made a career out of this kind of mature comedy and it works. He comes out on stage not expecting the respect and attention of his audience, but instead earns it through a demanding stage presence and several off the cuff jokes that straddle the fine line between humour and offence, as great comedians often learn to do. It’s sinfully good fun.
For those who know Brigstocke and others like him, this is a very satisfying piece of comedy that delivers the goods and laughs aplenty. For those who perhaps do not fit in with the audience that this experienced comedian knows so well, there are funnier acts to be had. An imperfect but satisfying way to fill an hour of your Fringe.
Marcus Brigstocke: Devil May Care
Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Beyond (Venue 33)
3-26 August (not 13)
Image: Emery PR