Glenn Wool: Promises Promises
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Everyone makes them, no-one keeps them. Wool will talk about them for an hour - or will he? Total sell-out 2006.
There really is something for everyone in Glenn Wool’s very accomplished show. Whether you like your comedy political, confessional, surreal or socially observant, all tastes are catered for in this astute and playful hour.
For the most part, it’s a taught string of sharp, intelligent gags; finding unique angles on the big topical events and challenging plenty of perceived ideas. He’s edgy enough to be interesting and original, but carries it very lightly, so as not to frighten the horses. And the jokes and ideas are packed together so densely, it’s almost three shows in one.
One theme of the show is identity; he’s not sure if he’s still Canadian after living in the UK for so long, but not entirely British, either. The fact he’s willing to mock and underplay his own stance, rather boastfully playing up a rebel-philosopher image as many comics, especially North American ones, are wont to do, suggest he’s assimilating well to the British life. A man with his facial hair is never going to be entirely serious.
The self-analysis mainly comes after he screwed up his life big-time with a three-day drink and drug binge, which caused him to miss a marriage guidance session. That didn’t go down to well, as you can probably imagine. This leads to tales of bad behaviour and of AA meetings – and both sides of the sobriety coin are described in equal incisive brilliance.
Another aspect of this multi-faceted show sees him return to religion – his, and most other comedians’ – bugbear du jour. Everyone’s read The God Delusion this year, it appears. Well, Wool gave the topic an almost untoppable kicking 12 months ago, but he’s not going to stop now.
This time around he takes a surreal approach, which seems the only logical way to mock something so inherently ridiculous as some, or possibly all, the belief systems. In an extended routine, he imagines phoning all the deities man has ever created in an attempt to fulfil an unexpectedly silly prayer. The pace slows a little here – possibly out of necessity to ease back from the previous breakneck speed - and the punchlines are less hard-hitting, but it’s still a skilful, admirable routine.
Overall, it’s a great show, offering plenty of bang for your buck from a smart, sophisticated and silly comic.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett