Pip Utton really is extraordinary. The Fringe staple - much respected for his one-man shows about as diverse a cast of characters as Hitler, Einstein, Churchill, Bacon, Thatcher, Dickens – is a byword for class and consistency.
A magnificent exemplification of the power of the one man show
In this year’s treat, Utton takes on Bob Dylan and within seconds, we are entranced by the soft accent, signature curls and effortless rapport with the audience who, for the concept of the piece, are treated as tame journalists enjoying a private audience in Dylan’s dressing room.
This amble through the biographical nuggets of Dylan’s life, shruggingly offered with a bemused disregard for the hero worship which has followed him throughout his career, is pinpointedly precise in its apparent nonchalance. Utton’s delivery is so immaculately naturalistic that one forgets this is a show at all: rapt by Dylan’s understated charm, our time is spent revelling in his modest anecdotes for what they are rather than marvel at the artistry of his characterisation.
We hear of Dylan’s start in life, his musical influences, his easy sympathy for others and unease with icon status. His celebrity titbits are juicy and informative (we want to hear more about his friendship with 'Lenny' Cohen); his reaction to oft-parroted questions gently irritable. There is a bewildered benevolence running through the characterisation which although not unexpected, is nevertheless endearing for one so majestically lauded.
There is a reason that Utton can boast years worth of five star reviews Fringe after Fringe after Fringe; and this particular show is not just a testament to his skill, or even to Dylan's ongoing magnetism, but a magnificent exemplification of the power of the one man show.