Arthur Smith (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Arthur Smith

A musical tribute to Leonard Cohen and tightly-scripted delight of a show

Around about ten years ago Leonard Cohen was returning to the spotlight from monastic seclusion in order to boost his plundered retirement fund. At the same time, curmudgeonly comedian Arthur Smith was paying homage to the melancholic gloom peddler with a show about his music. Now, Cohen's still trying to re-fill those coffers and Smith is taking a second bite at celebrating him in song with 'Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen (Volume Too)'.

The show is a synthesis of musical renditions, musings on misery and far more cracks about Leonard Nimoy than could reasonably be expected. Smith presents a good facsimile of Cohen's bass monotone and indulges his Cohen-esque lustiness with a backing trio of three highly competent singers/musicians.

Although he pretends to dismiss certain comedy conventions, Smith utilises decades of comedy nous to concoct a tightly-scripted delight of a show containing many an exquisite turn of phrase. Embracing misery and even taking pleasure in it, Smith ploughs a dark comedic furrow that is all the more potent for its honesty. And the odd bit of full-frontal nudity.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 18 Aug, 2.30pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11).

Arthur Smith

  • 4 stars

Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen (Volume Too). It is a while since Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen was a hit in Edinburgh. The show ran in London's West End before a final outing in Montreal at the Just for Laughs comedy festival. Recorded for Radio 4, it is still repeated frequently on Radio 4 Extra. Is it a coincidence…