A Lizard Goes a Long Way

Raising a laugh and a lump in the throat all at once is a good trick – possibly the best. Gecko makes it look easy. A gifted young comic songwriter with charm and style to spare, his clever lyrical conceits and easy-going acoustic melodies have already won over fans including John Hegley, Ed Sheeran and Radio 1’s Huw Stephens.

One song offers what may well be the defining chorus of a generation

Gecko’s debut hour at the Fringe is hardly mould-breaking musical comedy, but what sets him above many of his contemporaries is his restlessly inventive approach to character. There are songs here in the voice of a minor figure in Veronese’s painting The Wedding at Cana, the Tooth Fairy and a panda at the Edinburgh Zoo. Donning three pairs of sunglasses, he becomes a bug living on the face the post-apocalyptic earth; there’s an environmental message to it, but Gecko’s knowing self-deprecation keeps any hint of sanctimony in check.

Tech is used sparingly, but effectively. Gecko argues with his soundsystem, and it argues back - its occasional interruptions have a hint of HAL-9000 about them. Meanwhile, a few well-chosen soundbites from recent news reports and political speeches play out over his intros and outros, offering a sharp counterpoint to the whimsical naiveté of his music, and highlighting the show’s thread of millennial anxiety. One song offers what may well be the defining chorus of a generation: “When you’re alone and out in public / for longer than you planned / take your phone out of your pocket / and just stare into your hand.”

Too young to remember life before modems, he wryly lectures the audience on recent history: “There was a time before the internet, when if you wanted to send an email you had to attach it to a pigeon.”

At times, his more sentimental material can teeter into twee, and listing the show in ‘spoken word’ rather than music or comedy is disingenuous, but these are only minor quibbles. He offers a refreshingly honest reason for appearing under the ‘spoken word’ banner: “It makes me eligible for more awards.” He deserves them.

Reviews by Tristram Fane Saunders

Pilgrim

A Lizard Goes a Long Way

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

Marcel Lucont's Whine List

★★★★
Banshee Labyrinth

Til Debt Us Do Part

★★★
Pilgrim

The C/D Borderline

★★★★
Voodoo Rooms

Alexis Dubus Verses The World

★★★

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The Blurb

Gecko's playful songs cover life's big things. Think Grant Mitchell, the Mona Lisa, iPhones and the Edinburgh Zoo pandas. He's appeared at Glastonbury, Bestival, BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and now Edinburgh. He's shared stages with Robin Ince, Ed Sheeran, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Josie Long, The King Blues and Beans on Toast. 'It made me instantly happy when I heard it' (Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1). ‘Sharp as hell, his words amuse and provoke in equal measure. Generation-crossing stuff' (Attila the Stockbroker). 'Completely charmed me... he's quite brilliant' (Tom Robinson, Radio 6 Music).

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