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Greg Proops: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Julia Chamberlain

Greg Proops’s show is in the Elegance venue at the Assembly Garden, and looking at my ticket I thought that ‘Elegance’ was actually the title of his show. It wasn’t, but it would have been entirely apposite.  He dressed like he meant business,   he’s got well tailored material in both senses of the word.

Edinburgh 2012  is the title,  a mirror of London 2012.  There was a moment’s hushed disapproval  when he said ‘Congratulations on your Olympics’ to an audience of Scots, but they graciously let it go.  Proops initially spent a lot of time pacing the stage, in and out of the shadows, back to the audience, with the occasional bark of nervous laughter.  It was his first show and possibly the first time he’d done one with full sunlight streaming in the windows and considerable noise pollution from the venue next door, so you could forgive him for being a bit like a nervous racehorse, trotting and veering round the stage, being quite vocal about his irritation with the band next door.  But when he settled, planted his feet square and faced the audience, my god, it was good.

His opening segment was an acerbic look at the opening ceremony of the Olympics with a couple of swipes at Royalty and independence to suck up to the  locals. The US point of view of the Olympic opening ceremony was quite refreshing, moving from  mystified by the artistic elements to world weary with the lowgrade US coverage, sniggering at place names like schoolboys, or showing hours of Swedish Ladies Handball.

He touches on some not unfamiliar subjects – the over protectiveness of modern society breeding a generation of weedy, allergy ridden children, with an interesting take on older parenting.  He showed off some entertainingly Victorian ideas about child rearing, he really is at his best being patrician and cruel.  His topics are wide-ranging: Ireland (from the famine to dead language), rail announcements, rockstar politics and the collapsing world economy.  His take on the  forthcoming  presidential election and its candidates was an absolute tour de force.

I loved this. He takes a beady look at the soft, indulged, self pitying aspects of western, but mainly American society and is merciless with it.  If you need somebody to do some scathing, Greg Proops is the go-to–guy.  This is smart, mature rich and dense comedy, that makes you appreciate someone who has been refining his art  for decades. There’s not an ounce of fat on this set, no weak spots, just a laser like mind examining our interesting times.

Review date: 19 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain
Reviewed at: Assembly George Square

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