Edinburgh Fringe 2018
An hour of a stand-up comic playing with the audience, especially catered to a gay crowd, from a veteran Fringe performer.
I bought a ticket in May to see Craig Hill because I had seen the Fringe posters for years and heard that he sold out. I enjoy a light-hearted evening. I didn’t want to miss this popular performer. And I was not disappointed!
The opening was a bold surprise: Dressed in a blue kilt and shirt, Hill came through the audience to loud and lively music, then performed a fully choreographed dance routine on stage. He won over the audience in the first 3 minutes.
Good comics know how to play with their audience or make an ordinary situation funny. I saw Trevor Noah, just before he went to Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” in the US, kill at the Fringe with an off-the-cuff routine about his first night in Edinburgh with food poisoning and his NHS experience. Hill has a similar gift. A forgotten prop turned into an opportunity for a joke.
Most of his show was essentially unscripted. Hill searched the audience for lesbians and gays, a recurring theme of the night. Hill adds the “gay” dimension as part of his signature persona. The physical comedy is a bit risqué, so it’s not for kids but it’s not too naughty.
He singled out latecomers, asking their profession (“I put the coconut on the cookies” – really?), making jokes about their towns or jobs. The mental health high school councilor from Colorado was a perfect foil, as was the car mechanic. I was the only Canadian in the crowd, and when he asked my profession (clown), he had a field day. “The jokes are writing themselves,” said Hill.
He mixed in clever song parodies whenever they fit the subject. He even sang his idea of the normally boring airline safety instructions. Air Canada, take a lesson here!
Hill is a master of accents. As audience members called out their hometowns, Craig deftly switched between American, Irish, Glasgow, and Canadian dialects.
At the end, there was more dancing and some audience participation, as he brought someone onto the stage to assist with visual comedy.
I have rarely seen anything this sharp-witted and funny at the Fringe. We all left with ear-to-ear grins after an hour of sidesplitting comedy. It was advertised as “riotous” and it hit the mark.
The show would be best appreciated by locals, as there are many references to Edinburgh neighbourhoods and their quirks and personalities. However, Hill is so entertaining that a non-Scot will enjoy the show.
And Hill seems like a genuinely nice person. He stood at the exit after the show and shook hands with every audience member, which took at least half an hour, due to the full house. Then he posed for pictures and chatted.