Martin Creed's Words & Music (4 stars)

Martin Creed's Words & Music

Hugo Glendinning

Turner Prize winner creates an engaging universe of his own

'I made some notes,' ponders Martin Creed after he's taken to the stage, talking to himself as much as anyone else. 'I thought it might help but I don't know if it does. I wish I knew what was going to happen…' Yet none of us do. Creed – who grew up in Glasgow, famously won the Turner Prize in 2001 for switching a lightbulb on and off, and is responsible for two Edinburgh landmarks in Work No. 1059 (The Scotsman Steps) and Work No. 975 (Everything is Going to Be Alright) at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – is here to talk to us about whatever comes into his head.

Periodically during this late-night show, he also picks up one of the guitars alongside him and plays something from his extensive repertoire of quirky indie tracks, or keys up occasional text-based interventions on the screen behind him. Tonight's jumping-on theme is feelings, and how easy it is to betray yourself when your instinct to say 'no' is counteracted by the ease of saying 'yes'. The words 'NO' and 'YES' flash alternately in monochrome on the screen, and Creed's trying to find a way of merging them into some new word which sums up this sense of line-straddling uncertainty.

The unscripted show makes use of pauses, not all of them dramatic, and meanders more than once. Yet the wild-haired Creed is a compelling character, and he regularly hammers home lines of glowing insight or humour ('art galleries are like public toilets, they're white and brightly lit and I've worked with dicks in a lot of them' was a favourite) while displaying an effortless ability for pop structure and melody on songs like 'Let's Come to An Arrangement' or the protest short 'Let Them In'. He's created a world of his own here, and those who love his work will relish the chance to step into it.

The Studio, until 27 Aug (not 9, 15, 21), 10.30pm, £20

Martin Creed's Words and Music

  • 4 stars

Artist, musician and Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed invites you to a delightfully nonconformist evening of words, music and more, as he takes up residence for the 2017 International Festival. Expect an extraordinary encounter between artist and audience, a bit contemporary music hall, a bit art lecture, shot through…

The Studio at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Sat 19 Aug

£20 / 0131 473 2000

Spirit of '47. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

Sun 20 Aug

£20 / 0131 473 2000

Spirit of '47. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

Tue 22 Aug

£20 / 0131 473 2000

Spirit of '47. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

…and 5 more dates until 27 Aug

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