If you want to know how it came to be that Marcus Brigstocke became a part-time podium dancer while also working on an oil rig in Scotland, this show is definitely for you. Indeed, it is a far cry from his characteristic politicised rants and spitting style of outrage, but a refreshingly jovial tour through his rather exceptional life.
Brigstocke’s opening section showcases an impressive array of accents, from a cool Jamaican patois to charming Somerset drawl. Claiming that certain tasks are suited to certain voices, he has a laugh hopping between characters attempting various errands; while this is rather silly, it is also very entertaining. Brigstocke is astutely aware of his Radio 4 following and plays on this to toy with the unexpected. For example, he asserts that the Nigerian accent is the best voice with which to convey the unacceptability of parking tickets; necessarily, he urges us to ‘stay with him’ because he ‘just likes how it sounds’. He relishes those awkward moments between jokes, that middle-class pre-emptive wince, but quickly reassures us that no, he is not a racist and yes, we can laugh along.
He continues to play with expectations by announcing the shorthand list of ‘true’ stories that are to follow. Indeed, his claim that he smoked opium when he was fourteen certainly piqued my interest. His keen awareness of his posh background lends his stories a likeable modesty, wary as he is of claiming to have lived a hard-knock life despite the relatively dark turn of his tales. However, despite Brigstocke’s distinctive past, he has a knack of tapping into the universal pitfalls of everyday life, such as the politics of the school run or embarrassing trips to the doctor’s.
While the idea that Brigstocke was too perky to be a Goth is certainly amusing, it is this happy-go-lucky persona that established a minor flaw in the show. Indeed, some of his stories, though very funny, were so laid back that they didn’t seem to have a punchline. In fact, for me the highlight of the show was when he broke script to quickly scourge the dissolution of the NHS. In general, I hoped for a few more eruptions of this ‘new and improved’ Marcus 2.0.
Having said that, the jokes were steady and successful, and there was a very neat coherence to the act. An energetic finale was a mean feat to say the least, considering he is currently on crutches and I left in delighted disbelief that he really did make it as a resident clubber for Ministry of Sound.