Otis Lee Crenshaw: Bourbonitis

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

There's been little hoo-ha about Rich Hall's return to the Fringe in the guise of Otis Lee Crenshaw.

But then his reputation precedes him, and that's more than enough to sell out the modest Pleasance Cabaret bar ­ an intimate space infinitely more suited to his brand of sleazy musical comedy than the vast Assembly Rooms hall he struggled with under his own guise last year.

But fewer seats means less revenue, which means his backing band has been reduced to just one Black Liar going by the name of Myron.

This new show holds little surprises, but plenty of enjoyment, as Hall unveils another collection of tracks for his Tennessee trailer-trash creation to growl out.

We know by now all we're going to know about our jailbird bluesman and his lifetime of disappointment, failure and stalking convictions, which deprives the hour of any revelations.

But there are plenty more weapons in Otis's comedy arsenal, not least an envious talent with audience banter that's as inspired as it is lightning-quick. The attempt to apply this to an improvised song isn't quite so successful, his ambitions in singing about a salesman of Spanish womenswear foundering badly, though somehow making it through to its final destination.

Tracks he's actually written are, unsurprisingly, a lot more successful. Two favourites are Fuck The Fringe, a view of the festival as seen by an embittered Edinburgh native, and a three-way conversation between his wallet, heart and genitalia which is a strangely moving poem to the way a man's emotions are torn.

Basically, this is an on-form Otis doing what he does best. If you don't know what that is by now, it's high tome you found out.

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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