Chris Coltrane: Left-Wing Propaganda Machine | Review by Helen Ackrill
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Chris Coltrane: Left-Wing Propaganda Machine

Review by Helen Ackrill

Political comic Chris Coltrane wants to hit you with some knowledge. Lots and lots of interesting, and rather surprising, truths about policies, drugs, and farting on small children. Coltrane comes across as the cool, intelligent teacher everyone wishes they had. He set the ground rules early by directing latecomers into their seats, telling everyone what to expect during the set, and making it clear that he doesn’t appreciate heckling because it slows everything down. The audience were so absorbed by the control he exerted that had he asked the room to sit cross-legged, with their fingers to their lips, they’d probably have done it.

Coltrane reels off statistics from his wad of paper notes, plays clips of party broadcasts and news soundbites, and pauses for dramatic effect when facts are revealed about government spending or benefit fraud. It doesn’t matter if the audience have limited knowledge of world affairs because he patiently talks them through his material, making his gig part stand-up and part seminar.

To prevent sucking the audience down into a bog of political depression Coltrane lifts the mood with interspersed anecdotes about his love life, his teen years as a Goth, and generally not being cool in certain situations. While he may be a fact-munching machine, he still makes stupid mistakes from time to time. In short he is still human.

The only niggle here is the need for more visual content. A PowerPoint slideshow displaying famous politician quotes stops as soon as his show starts, which is a real shame – the Donald Trump Tweets were a particular hoot. There are many periods where Coltrane makes political references, but the screen behind him remains blank. Perhaps he assumed visuals would be too distracting during his set, but it feels, at times, a little empty without them.

Don’t be put off seeing this show if politics isn’t your thing. As Coltrane points out he deals with facts, not factions, and his aim is to educate you with truth, not opinion. An engaging, modest, and intellectual way to spend an hour. Class dismissed.

Review date: 18 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Helen Ackrill
Reviewed at: Banshee Labyrinth

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