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Kevin Bridges: An Hour To Sing For Your Soul – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Kevin Bridges is the great white hope of Scottish comedy, selling out his entire Fringe run at the miniscule Joker Dome on the back of his impressive appearance on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.

Five years on the circuit have proven this 22-year-old to be good comic, too, so it’s a shame that his debut is pretty, well… a bit dull.

The problem seems to be that small room isn’t his natural habitat. He rightly brings down the energy of the performance to an intimate chat, but the club-set material seems pedestrian without a decent crowd to bounce it off.

The show runs for only around 50 minutes – despite what the title promises – of which a good five minutes was asking the audience their names, where they were from, what they do for a living... Such verbal gladhanding is a crucial part of settling the room in club comedy, but at a festival show, where a small, well-behaved ‘crowd’ has come specifically to see you, it seems like filling time – even if it does showcase his ability to seamlessly segue prepared material into the conversation.

His speaks of tough life in Glasgow, where rottweilers roam the estates, of shopping in bargain-bucket clothes shops, of the terrible quiz shows on late-night television, of lads’ holidays on budget airlines, of shit universities that used to be polytechnics. Scotland is a place of suicide and should be advertised not by Sean Connery, but by ‘Big Mental Davey, the joiner’. There’s an undeniable air of authenticity about the tableau he paints, which isn’t shared by every comedian has, but the ideas feel mundane and familiar.

There are, however, some lovely turns of phrase and images that pepper the set, albeit sparsely. His one-liner describing one low-cost store’s price positioning, his obsession with the phrase ‘shite in a kettle’ or his the hilarious image that comes to mind when he recalls the racist graffiti artists idiotically taking several goes to get the swastika right are as evocative as they are funny.

He generates regular chuckles, as is the job description, but they didn’t build up any sort of momentum, or bring us deeper into his world.

Bridges will do well in comedy – his career peaks in such short time has already proved that – and others have raved enthusiastically about this show. But it feels to me like a foundation on which to build, rather than anything close to the finished product, though you can clearly catch glimpses of the great things yet to come.

Review date: 20 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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