My Name is Gideon review at Upstairs, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘wholly original’
It would be an over-simplification to describe Gideon Irving as a singer/songwriter. If labels need to be attributed then contemporary troubadour is probably the best option; a singer of poetry and improvisational musician. The artist has performed in more than 500 living rooms around the world and last year’s gig at the Underbelly with music partner Hubcap Sloan won a Total Theatre Award for Playing with Form.
My Name is Gideon: Songs, Space Travel and Everything In-Between continues to flout conventional music and cabaret form but it’s no less engaging. Much of this is to do with Irving’s endearingly coy delivery, which renders him part clown and part musical genius. His lyrics are closer to poetry than formal ballads but it’s the manipulation of sound that characterises his work. Samples are recorded live and repeated and instruments include the banjo, mbira and scacciapensieri. There are hints of folk and bluegrass in the sound and shades of Guthrie and Dylan in the lyrics but it’s lighthearted, occasionally silly and wholly entertaining.
The set is a wandering minstrel’s wooden trunk, pimped to feature lighting and sound but there is also an oven, in which he bakes cookies to distribute to a contented audience.
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