Wil Hodgson - Straight Outta Chippenham

Despite some funny anecdotes, Hodgson's pithy suburban narratives seem just a little too esoteric to truly connect

archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Published 19 Aug 2007
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With his Doc Martin boots and perfect Mohican, Will Hodgson is the leopard skin punk of postcard infamy; a stalwart figure of the provincial town who somehow seems to have headed in other directions, chiefly stand-up and My Little Pony.

Most of his humour derives from his curious personal history. As a former wrestler, communist and collector of small plastic toys for girls, he has a great deal to draw upon. Rich material, you might agree, but the trouble with comedy wherein you yourself are the punch line, is that one day you may run out. A man does have limits.

Indeed, the problem with Hodgson’s set is that a life spent in the margins rarely connects with universal experience. His anecdotes are funny - occasionally very - but he seems unable to see the bigger picture. Likewise, the decision to base his set so heavily on the byways of pop culture is a risky move. Footnotes should be provided for the unwary. The mostly middle-aged crowd I saw the show with hardly seemed the sort to be au fait with skinhead culture and radical leftism. Nonetheless, they were entertained.

Hodgson is warm hearted enough to draw our attention with his tales of life in Chippenham - a town he professes to love and hate with equal measure. Yet when the majority of Fringe shows explore themes like race and religion, his pithy suburban narratives seem just a little too esoteric to truly connect.