Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (comedy): Glenn Wool: Wool’s Gold at Underbelly, Bristo Square (Venue 300). Review by Claire Smith
It’s a slightly huskier Glenn Wool than normal because the comedian is suffering from Saturday Night Fringe Throat. But even when he is not quite firing on all cylinders Wool refreshes the parts many stand-ups cannot reach.
This is a greatest hits compilation – looking back over the Fringe shows he has done since he first moved to the UK.
There’s a lot of stuff about religion, some about relationships, drink, divorce and the hazards of life on the road as a rock ‘n’ roll comic. He’s mined his life and his work to bring out the gold. Glenn Wool absolutely loves these jokes. They are his all-time favourites. And if the audience dares not to love them too he just strolls around the stage, looking squinty-eyed and shaking his head.
He’s known for his languid stoner-style delivery but don’t be deceived: every word of these tried and tested routines is deliberate – and every word matters. The thread loosely linking the show together is the notion that someone has been upset by his material and that he is revisiting the routines to work out what is offensive.
He has jokes about rape, about drugs and about Jesus – there is even a bit of bestiality. But underlying it all is a thoughtful, conscientious understanding of the way people think and behave.
It’s a masterclass in how to take it to the line, when words matter, and when they don’t. You might not notice it at the time because you’re busy laughing but there is a thesis here about what is real, what is imaginary and what sort of things are really offensive in comedy and in life.
Wool uses his voice like an instrument and watches his audience intently – playfully jumping in and out of mini- comic personas to emphasise his point. Sometimes we get creepy Glenn, sometimes evil superhero Glenn and sometimes innocent face “I don’t know what I did wrong” Glenn. Flirty cajoling, sexy Glenn tends to appear when stand up Glenn has said something apparently inappropriate about animals or children.
He’s tired is Glenn tonight, but he’s still brilliant. Thanks for all the jokes Glenn.
Until 25 August. Today 9:30pm, more info
Originally published in The Scotsman