Elvis McGonagall: Countrybile (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

Elvis McGonagall: Countrybile

A verse-driven hour from a poet whose move to greener pastures hasn’t diluted his passion

Where Manchester has John Cooper Clarke, Dundee has Elvis McGonagall. Here he returns to the Fringe with a typical blend of wonderful writing, tack-sharp humour and uncompromising politics. A former lawyer, McGonagall has been performing energetic poetry infused with a socialist passion (while wearing a tartan jacket) for 12 years. Now in his fifties, he and his wife (with dog in tow) decided some years back to move out of London and set up camp in rural Dorset.

Happily, neither this move to greener pastures nor towards middle age has tamed him, McGonagall's sense of injustice remaining intact with poems about Cameron, Osborne, the aftermath of the Scottish independence vote and Thatcher 'dead in her bed at the Ritz'. As you'd expect from such a seasoned poet, the verse is beautifully penned with lines such as 'leapt like a Salmond, float like a Sturgeon' and the chat in between the verse has its own musicality.

But there is still room in Countrybile for poetry that takes in his pastoral surroundings and a piece about the summer tourists in the pub where he sometimes works forms a simple yet hilarious rant. At least by being at the Fringe he's getting a couple of weeks off.

Stand in the Square, 558 7272, until 31 Aug, 1.40pm, £8 (£7).

Elvis McGonagall: Countrybile

  • 4 stars

Elvis McGonagall Countrybile – armed with a blunderbuss, a bottle of Scotch and his rabid wit, stand-up poet Elvis McGonagall emerges from his godforsaken rural idyll at the Graceland Caravan Park to take aim at this septic isle. Land of robber barons and food banks, of Kirstie Allsopp cupcakery and dead badgers.