Glenn Wool isn’t afraid to engage with Big Themes: feminism and the existence of God take centre stage during his set. His latest show takes the idea of the ‘little voice inside your head’ and uses it to ask questions about all aspects of life, centred around the question of whether this voice exists as a sentient being separate to one’s self – designed to trick one into making horrendous decisions – or simply just another part of the mind.
It is Wool’s personality and charisma which elevates the show above simply being sixty minutes of sharp material.
Just as the setting for Wool’s anecdotes moves from Hiroshima to the Kerrang Awards to Estonia, the content moves from the puerile and silly to the politically charged and poignant. It is Wool’s style of delivery – both highly energetic and self-aware – which allows jokes about farting to exist in a set alongside an extended critique of the Beauty Myth. Wool’s commitment to the punchline, even whilst acknowledging that certain jokes may not stay in the Fringe for the full run, is impressive, as is his ability and willingness to engage with audience reactions: here is a comedian acutely aware of his audience.
With seemingly necessary and obvious Fringe-jibes to both Glasgow and The Guardian, there were points at which Wool’s set seemed to fall on well-trodden ground. However, Wool also frequently takes what appears to be a well-known set up and manages to turn it entirely on its head, proving that Fringe audiences are still able to be surprised.
Wool promises to end his show with a pun and, following a necessarily long and detailed set up, the pun that is delivered is marvellous. However, this final high point is quickly tempered by the tacking on of an ‘epilogue’ which – despite being an attempt to draw together the various strands of his show – falls flat: it is an unsubtle attempt to make his show have a ‘meaning’. In a show which is consciously eclectic this final attempt at cohesion is at odds to the previous fifty five minutes itself.
It is Wool’s personality and charisma which elevates the show above simply being sixty minutes of sharp material: his ability to present such an odd mix of themes is testament to his ability to tell stories and capture an audience, and it is this which makes Creator, I am but a Pawn a set worth catching.