Viva Gribbostania! is a whirlwind of infectious enthusiasm from this Liverpudlian satirist and it is refreshing to see a comedy show with a strong premise and an opinion. Comedy veteran Steve Gribbin tries to make sure that by the end of the show the whole audience is part of his new republic Gribbostani, and he even has everyone raising their right hand and swearing allegiance. Gribbin is fed up with modern society and is looking for independence. This show is laden with political witticisms, satire and social commentary, all served with a side serving of songs and silly dancing. This is intelligent and astute comedy in a very likeable, musical package.
There's a natural pace and structure to this show as Gribbin lays out the constitution for his new republic. He has thought of everything from the national animal to the flag and the national anthem, topics which present a delightful opportunity for Gribbin to explore matters such as national identity, patriotism and border control. He does this with a razor-sharp barrage of jokes; there is no pause for breath and every other line is a punchline. His lefty, anti-Tory sensibilities come through in his attacks of bankers and the u-turns of the Liberal Democrats, but the gags are accessible political nuggets and nothing digs deep enough to alienate a mainstream audience. A particular highlight is his fundamentalist hip-hop song; Gribbin could afford to push his material more in this direction as his views are informed and intelligent, and there is little risk of his routine being seen as overbearing or offensive.
His delivery has the tendency to become a little cheesy and Gribbin may isolate a younger audience due to his 'I'm not down with the kids' jokes, which feel unnecessary given the quality of his material. However, this show is overall a nice change from the wealth of observational stand-up on the circuit at the moment. Go and see Gribbin now before he tightens the immigration laws of Gribbostania and you need a passport to get in.