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Edinburgh Fringe 2016 Review: Marcus Brigstocke: Why The Long Face?

Brigstocke showcases just how smart and multi-faceted observational comedy can be when done to the highest standard, writes Chris Owen

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Radio 4 fan-favourite Brigstocke brings Why The Long Face? to the Fringe for the second year running, and hits all the right notes in an hour of whinging about the little things to try and make the big things go away. Covering the personal and political with equal sway - the former with a surprising poignancy and honesty, the latter with tons of sarcastic wit - Brigstocke showcases just how smart and multi-faceted observational comedy can be when done to the highest standard.

The comedian's starting premise is that he has, broadly speaking, got it good as a straight white male - what right does he have, he asks, to complain about a thing? It's a foundation that makes for a poignant and self-aware show essentially built around the question of what makes us happy. When, he asks, using his children as a test case, are we at our most happy? As a baby, toddler, pre-teen? In our 30s or 40s? Deconstructing his own experiences, Brigstocke unpacks a series of anecdotes from his life so far, with a smackingly sardonic delivery and on-the-money cynicism.

Quotes on his posters claim that if you haven't seen him live you haven't seen him at his best, and it's an entirely accurate summary. Probably by his own volition, he isn't one of the country's household comedy names, but he's got every right to such a title. Brigstocke is wholly relatable and great company - the old friend you don't see half enough of.

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