Wednesday, 22 July 2009

REVIEW: Kevin Bridges and Wilson Dixon

Edinburgh previews, Falling Down With Laughter @ Belushi’s, Borough High Street, London, Tues 21 July 2009, 8.30pm

Nothing too surprising from affable Scot Kevin Bridges. In an enjoyable set he took on terrorism, paedophiles, and, of course, the troubles of Glasgow. He pulled out some smart gags with wry delivery, especially a line about council swimming pools which was set up brilliantly.

His low-energy style was relaxing, but he was in danger of losing our attention when the sometimes predictable material didn’t hit the mark, dissolving into cynical rambling. Rapport with the audience was good (he anxiously noted the high presence of those working in TV) but he sometimes began to lose the focus of the banter he initiated - I think we’ll see more of the flashes of angry and assured wit which demonstrated his capability when Bridges finds his feet in Edinburgh.

Second act Wilson Dixon is a construction of genius: I knew what to expect and wasn’t disappointed when he sauntered on in his already amusing Stetson and wig. Dixon’s Country & Western persona is the foundation for his beautifully crafted songs, in the vein of Flight of the Concords. His soft country drawl introduced us to the theme of his Edinburgh run this year; the American Dream.

Some numbers weren’t as strong as his stock material, but even they caused us to forget the sweltering heat in Belushi’s basement. A highlight that still makes me chuckle was a song about animals which took sayings about our furry companions literally (“Can you imagine being caught in a shower of dogs? Or standing in a puddle of cats?”) As his masterful wordplay built to a climax, the suppressed laughter was palpable even before he finished each devastatingly astute couplet. His simple formula delivers consistantly, and his full-bodied character allows for forlorn and wistful moments in an affectionate nod to the musical tradition which produced this comic creation.