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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Kieran Hodgson: Big In Scotland

Kieran Hodgson

Genre: Character Stand up, Comedy, Storytelling

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard


Low Down

Kieran Hodgson brings his new comedy show Big in Scotland.


Kieran comes out in a tartan red and blue blazer and assures the audience that he is Scottish. This ironic statement quickly unravels into a hilariously told crisis of identity. He starts as a stereotypically pompous Englishman eager for a change. A disappointing best man speech he gave at his best friend’s wedding, where he found his own personality and idiosyncrasies frustrating, propels him to take a job in Scotland in the hopes of becoming Scottish, or at least embody the stereotype – kind, friendly and certainly not English. Kieran takes us through his adventures in Scotland and how they affected his identity.

The show has the feel of stand-up as he is walking around the stage alone with no props, costumes or changes in lighting, but it’s much more than that. Through skilful storytelling we are immersed in a tale that brings to life character after character with sharp cutting whit. Kieran is a master at accents and characterisation, allowing the audience to truly visualise his fast paced creations. The overarching story, although simple, is very engaging and infused with political commentary and exquisite joke writing. Kieran’s comedic timing and connection to the audience is impressive. He switches perspectives and has an art for very clearly arguing his point of view while criticising it at the same time, in a classic British self-deprecating manner. The show celebrates change and acceptance, while not taking itself too seriously, making the audience laugh throughout.

Even though the performer and the story are very British, there is a universality to the themes. British knowledge will definitely help understand a substantial part of the jokes and references, but a lot of countries have an area with a strong identity and an on-going discussion around separating. The self-superiority of the capital and the all too common believe that the provinces are not as good is also quite universal. Worshiping London and wanting to succeed there, while simultaneously hating it and craving anything foreign is a uniquely British feeling though.

The performance, the story and the themes feel way too grand for stand-up’s conversational format. The show would’ve befitted from a theatre atmosphere. Lighting design, a simple set and costumes could’ve gotten an already riveting story to a higher level.

Kieran Hodgson: Big in Scotland is an exquisite show, funny as it can be, with an engaging story you want to see unfold, and a warm message of self-discovery.