This review was originally published on Fringe Review on 15 August 2019
Craig Hill’s sell out stand up show is back for another year. The master of Scottish Banter, his energetic show is packed with riotously funny put downs and sharp, cutting, gags that has his audience in stitches. Sometimes at a comedy show, you just want to have a good laugh.
Craig comes bursting on to the stage. Dressed in a matching bright pink shirt and kilt, with music blaring, he dances his little socks off before taking to the stage. Such energy goes into the entrance he’s left gasping for breath when he finally takes to the stage.
There’s a party atmosphere, you can sense the anticipation in the room and it’s clear from the noise of the audience that this show is going to be a lot of fun.
Most stand-up comedians perform their show in the same way. As it says on the tin, they stand up in front of the audience and tell jokes. Craig Hill, not so much. Most of his material is based on audience responses. It appears to be heavily improvised, and whilst there are some predictable tropes and attendant gags, much of the show would require Craig to be psychic in order to have prepared material beforehand.
That said, a Craig Hill audience knows what they are in for. This is a two-way transaction, he will pick on, subvert, challenge and take the piss out just about anyone. He engages in savage banter, albeit delivered with a smile and a humorous tone. His audience don’t mind being the butt of the jokes, in fact many are eager for it.
To anyone who says comedy is dead because ‘you can’t say anything anymore’ you should get yourself along to a Craig Hill set, where it is more of a case of saying, “he didn’t just say that, did he?” He is deliberately provocative but delivers his material with such a sense of fun that its hard to be offended. The laughter rolls around the theatre on a continuous basis.
Even those who become the subject of his barbs, laugh along. As cruel as he can sometimes appear to be, he is solicitous that the subject is going along with it. A couple of times he moved on when someone started to look uncomfortable. Fortunately there were some Americans in the room, to pick up the slack.
Ask enough questions and soon enough the comedy gold comes out. Whether its where you live, how you look or what you do there seems nothing he cannot make fun of. Even Greggs is used as an insult. The sharper the banter the more the audience laugh.
He does tell stories about his own life and experiences. We learn things about him, some we wish we did not know. Craig his as hard on himself, with his humour as he is on the audience.
Its easy to assume that Craig is a walking Gay stereotype, dishing out the barbed banter that goes along with the role, but that would be to do him a disservice. His act is much cleverer than that. You notice it in the summaries and wrap ups that he uses. They show that he was really paying attention to what people were saying. There is a highly creative intelligence at work.
As the audience left they were talking, chattering and smiling. He met everyone as they left, posed for photos and carried on making people laugh. A clue as too why people keep coming back year on year, to fill one of the larger venues.
If you want something a bit different, that’s very funny and if you are not easily offended this show is one for you. It’s highly recommended.
Originally published on Fringe Review on August 15, 2019 by Joe Angella
For details of up-coming shows please visit Craig Hills website