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My Name is Gideon review at Upstairs, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘wholly original’

My Name is Gideon: Songs, Space Travel and Everything In-Between, Upstairs at the Pleasance, Edinburgh

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.

Verdict
Quirky, yet thoroughly entertaining and wholly original

Production Information

Production
My Name is Gideon: Songs, Space Travel and Everything In-Between
Venue
Upstairs, Pleasance Courtyard
City
Edinburgh
Starts
August 12, 2016
Ends
August 29, 2016
Creator
Gideon Irving
Director
Michael Walk
Lighting
Stephen Terry
Costume
Alice Tavener
Cast includes
Gideon Irving
Producer
All For One Theatre, Richard Jordan Productions
Running time
1hr