Gavin Crawford - A Bummer Abroad
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 15th Aug 2013
  • |
  • ★★★★

I have to admit, I was not convinced by Gavin Crawford to begin with. This show does not start well – Crawford opens on his weakest character, a parody of a fringe first-timer which feels done to death. However, I’m pleased to report that, as one of his later characters emphasises, it gets better.

A lot better actually – his second character, a tough Jersey mechanic (who also happens to be an unapologetic transvestite) is very funny and, while I wasn’t keen on the Hugh Jackman section, later impressions and characters like Snape or nervous teen Mark Jackson singing at his dad’s gay wedding are excellently sketched and extremely amusing.

By the time we reach the end and a spot-on song speculating on what Cole Porter might have to say about gay hook-up app Grindr, we’re thoroughly brought into a very solid, very competent performance.

In fact, my only real issue with the show is its narrow focus. On the one hand it’s extremely niche at times – Crawford’s Rufus Wainwright impression is superb but I’m not sure that most of his audience would know Wainwright well enough to appreciate this fact.

On another level, it feels like Crawford’s decision to limit himself largely to sketches and characters centred around being gay has tied his hands slightly. I thought his observational material about what it’s like to be Canadian was excellent and that, by adding just a touch of his mimicry to this straightforward stand-up, he made it funnier by far. His Downton Abbey song was perfectly pitched at the audience.

There is no doubt that Gavin Crawford is an excellent character comedian and mimic and well worth seeing. Just make sure to do your Wainwright homework and for God’s sake, take your kids out of the room for the last ten minutes.

Reviews by Tom King

Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Jess Robinson: No Filter

★★★★

Performances

The Blurb

Canada's top character comedian combines music, monologue, and impressions to skewer gay marriage, Downton Abbey, Hugh Jackman, Grindr and more. ‘Inventively funny... Smart and timely’ (Globe And Mail).