Michael Legge: Tell It Like It Is, Steve | Review by Steve Bennett
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Michael Legge: Tell It Like It Is, Steve

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s an artistic rite that’s helped inspire the muse in authors from Byron to Hemingway; to escape to some corner of a foreign land to focus on their work.

When Michael Legge decided to follow in their footsteps, he wound up in Kavos, the ‘lads on tour’ capital of Greece, a place that couldn’t be more at odds with his sensibilities. And to think Hemingway only had to deal with the carnage of the Spanish Civil War and the Normandy landings…

Much as Legge found he couldn’t sit and contemplate life’s greater meaning on the vomit-streaked streets of the party town, the experience nonetheless inspired the fiercely twat-intolerant comedian. Now he rages with typical grumpy passion against the awful place and his hovel of a hotel room. The fury gives him purpose when it comes to that new stand-up staple of reading out online reviews, which he spins out into venting about the Fringe star-rating system – one of several astute in-jokes about the industry, and some of the people in it.

In fact, the whole premise revolves around his certainty that he’s going to get a nomination Edinburgh’s big prize, following in the footsteps of other noonday shows at the Stand such as Bridget Christie and Tony Law – putting a positive spin on an uncoveted timeslot.

To that tongue-in-cheek ambition, he’s even written a proper show, rather than bringing along a hastily-scribbled list of things that rile him and letting his pique do the rest. It largely revolves around the perils of encountering your heroes. The title refers to Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery, while singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock has been on the receiving end of Legge’s cack-handed fanboyism more than once.

Because for all his anger against the pricks, Legge is more than capable of joining their ranks – and it’s that ambiguity, which runs through any tone or ‘message’ of the show – that makes it more than a grumpy middle-aged man letting off steam. It’s more playful, more knowing, and more fun than that.

Review date: 24 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Stand 2

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