EDINBURGH REVIEW!: Michael Legge: Curse Sir Walter Raleigh


Michael Legge: Curse Sir Walter Raleigh Review


Michael Legge has a Walter Raleigh complex. He can't abide bad manners in public. This obsession and how he managed to stop himself going into convulsions of rage with rude strangers is the basis for his solo stand-up show. If that sounds a bit thin, you have to understand that this sometime softly-spoken, sometime raging Irishman is also the kind of comedian who can meander wittily in and out of a subject at length.

Just looking at his blog you get a good sense of his stage style – a splurging, sweary flow of consciousness about his hates, fears, and desires. It took him twenty minutes or so to just get past a rant about festival toilets because his was broken (thankfully, the rest of the act is less scatalogical).

He also loves big scene-builds, vividly acting out incidents in his life that relate to his obsession with good manners. There's a hilarious portrait of an episode during a previous Edinburgh Fringe where he was “rescued” from a fracas in late-night drinking hole Fingers, and scenes of dealing with inconsiderateness on trains were hilariously sketched out.

On this preview show, bounding about in a room full of about 20 people, he seemed like a cat in a dog pound, hyper-alert, almost a little too desperate to please. But the wits were sharp, meaning he peppered his material with amusing off-the-cuff jokes. I'm sure that it's been said before, but Legge's performance also reminded me of Simon Pegg, particularly as the uptight cop in Hot Fuzz.

The act's loose and improvised narrative meant that there were fallow periods. The obvious Walter Raleigh material that you would expect to be spot on – about tobacco and potatoes, for example – didn't yield much comedy. But then a sprinkling of puns (very Elizabethan) were woven in effectively. There's much to like about Michael Legge, especially if you enjoy watching someone pushing himself to his wit's edge.

Til 11 August, 20:20

By edg - Posted on 07 August 2011

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