Rich Hall’s Hoedown

Assembly George Square

From 01 August 2013 to 25 August 2013

Rating: *****

Review by David Chadderton

After three years away from the Fringe and a few more birthdays under the expanding waistline, we wondered whether we were still up to seeing shows that continue past midnight. A show like this, however, sends you out on so much of a high that I wish I had more than five stars to give it.

On TV panel shows, Rich Hall is the grumpy witty one; on stage, he is a force to be reckoned with. Anything that happens is effortlessly and hilariously incorporated into the show. A poor couple who came in only slightly late became quite a feature of the show as he created songs based on her name and a place she wanted to go to and tried to get him to propose to her in front of everyone.

The song line-up begins with his attempt to expand country and western music to other cultures in "Mosque" ("If the Mosque is rockin' don't come knockin' just come on in"). He expresses his increasing disappointment with one of the biggest names in American folk music in no uncertain terms in "Bob Dylan". "Tight Wranglers" is about the women in his native Montana who wear jeans several sizes too small, and "Williams" is about his frustration with the modern digital jukeboxes that have so much on them it is impossible to find what you want.

A good one for the Scottish crowd, "Give Me Back My Whisky" laments the giving of the recipe for single malt whisky to the Americans as they created Jack Daniels with it, and can't even spell it.

There's much more. The night I went, Tony Law was a special guest, plus Immie and Ellie Mason are a great pair of singers and musicians who did their own number before providing backing vocals on many of the songs.

Despite the uncomfortable seats with poor visibility and not enough space between them for anyone with hips in Assembly's Spiegeltent, this must be the most fun to be had at the Fringe this year. And I bought a CD. Wonderful.