Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Umbrella Man is the story of a young man from the north of Scotland who tries to prove the Earth is flat. Using poetry, storytelling and improvised piano to take audiences on a journey to the outer limits of common sense.
This is a slightly surprising show for 10am, having rather more the feel of a evening show. So be warned, f*** and c*** constitute most of the punctuation in this show!
Written and performed by Edinburgh based poet, Colin Bramwell weaves storytelling, comedy and music seamlessly together to create a layered tale of travelling and loss. We are his audience, both in a basement in Summerhall but also the tourists in a bar in Cambodia.
It is a difficult piece to describe and probably a mistake to try as it will be experienced differently by everyone who sees it. Initially confusing, it gradually reveals a tender story of how a young man from the north of Scotland, Doug, has arrived in Cambodia where he is a tour guide. showing tourists around Angkor Wat.
Bramwell presents a very self-effacing character, who takes us half way round the world, flipping back to reminisce about Edinburgh. I’ll never look at Subway in the same way again. At the heart of the journey is a tale of loss that he handles with a very light touch that the hits you with a wallop as he reaches the conclusion of the story.
He is equally proficient and confident in whatever genre he has slipped into with the musical interludes providing both variety and additional humour. I particularly like the way that he wove poetry and spoken word pieces into the narrative without announcing ‘a poem’ and ‘the title’. Except on one occasion where he sent up something seen so often at open mic spoken word events, which is to not only announce the title but apologise for the whole thing, just in case, pre-empt any possible criticism. In reality, Illuminati, the piece he so profusely apologises for is an extraordinary, intricate piece delivered at a rattling pace that left me breathless. And wanting to explore it properly, perhaps there is an opportunity there for post-show book sales?
Umbrella Man is definitely the way to start your Fringe day with a bang in the hands of a very talented performer.