Edinburgh review: Marcus Brigstocke

Jay Richardson finds Marcus Brigstocke to be an eloquent Doubting Thomas in his religion-based show God Collar.

Marcus_Brigstocke1Religion has always been a tempting punchbag for stand-ups but agnostic Marcus Brigstockesmacks it with intelligence, cheek and a discernible degree of grace.

Although he admits to having a “God-shaped hole” and cautions atheists on their smug delusions of superiority, taking Richard Dawkins to task for his snooty tone, he makes it abundantly clear that he’s not on the side of the angels.

London’s atheist bus campaign provokes a sharply ironic observation that’s swiftly bettered by a wonderful, wince-inducing musing on a Muslim equivalent.

Never one to mince words when sacred cows are to hand, he maintains that his aversion to religion arises from a tolerance of homosexuality and the fact that he doesn’t hate women, though this doesn’t prevent an ungallant blast at Eve’s behaviour in the Garden of Eden. A quick digression into the cult of iPod-owning feels gratuitous but Brigstocke’s characterisations of the Pope, Ian Paisley, Christopher Hitchens and “the man upstairs” are successively, brutally funny.

He’s wise too on the politics underpinning religion, so while there’s an element of him preaching to his Radio 4 choir, you couldn’t ask for a more articulate and, indeed, sarcastic, Doubting Thomas.

Four stars
Marcus Brigstocke – God Collar is on until August 30 (except August 17) at 8:40pm at the Assembly. Click here for tickets, there aren’t many left…

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