Glenn Wool: Goodbye Scars
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Goodbye angel, goodbye star
Goodbye feathers, goodbye scars
Good buy feeling, good buy wars
Good buy sweaters, good buy stores
Ah, the ambiguity. Does newly-divorced Glenn Wool have scars from saying goodbye; or is he wishing his wounds farewell? Either way, he’ll be left with a scab – and there’s nothing more he likes doing, metaphorically, than picking a scab.
He’s a provocative act all right, prodding away at all the sensitive areas such as Islamic extremists, but with such a playful grin, that he can always get away with pretending he’s only messing.
But although there are elements of that sort of cheekily-confrontational comedy in this year’s show, there’s also a good dose of his own life. Indeed, the concept came from his own divorce papers, as he attempts to explain why he’s not as bad as his ex-wife made out. This might have been raw and personal show at another time, but by now the split is only a backdrop, merely providing a washing line of rejection on which to peg any stories he wants to share.
One of them is about the intimate medical check-up, which is fast becoming the topic du jour among the no-longer young comics who tend to abuse their bodies too much. I’ve learned a lot more about implements doctors can insert into your body in the past week than I’d ever hoped to know. And it’s easy can understand why a stand-up would fee the need to share this information following the trauma of the experience. Wool does it with typical élan, with laughs to match the winces.
Another hefty segment is a long routine about being stoned in a cinema queue while a youth in Canada. Again, smoking dope is hardly boundary-pushing stuff; again Wool makes it hilariously his own by the slow unveiling of one act of crass insensitivity after another, until you feel his pain at finding the situation hilarious, but having to suppress it for polite company.
His delivery is compelling; part rugged-woodman, part-preacher, patrolling the stage like he owns it (which he does, completely) while proclaiming his point of view. At times, he’ll shake back his scraggy hair to puncture the dramatic points with a joke, at others transforms into a hissing, menacing velociraptor. That’s when he’s depicting his wife, obviously.
The easy passion of the performance, the glint in his eye, the sneaky sideswipes at his targets and some damn fine jokes, add up to a winner of an hour.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett