Kevin P. Gilday: SPAM Valley is definitely recommended by The QR, and you could do your heart some good buy grabbing a ticket before the run ends.
Son of Glasgow, Kevin P. Gilday is bringing something quite surprising to The Stand for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. A poet, and writer of no small calibre, Kevin knows his way around the spoken word, but there’s bravery in his setting up stall at one of the nation’s premiere comedy clubs. Stand audiences tend to arrive burdened with expectations of easy laughter, and by 10pm, varying levels of intoxication.
Fortunately, Kevin P. Gilday is a very funny chap, not silly, not farcical, instead plucking humour from the absurdity of his own, very human history. This is the comedy that lurks on the flip-side from tragedy, a wry commentary on how we live our lives. From the casual cruelty of children, to the unappreciated love of parents; from being the ‘working-class’ poet amidst ‘middle-class’ throngs to our ephemeral definitions of class itself, Kevin finds the fun in episodes equally worthy of tears.
When he’s funny, he’ll bring tears to the eyes. When the laughter stops, he keeps tight hold of all attentions with his impassioned story. As already said, this is a artistic soul of no small calibre.
Then there’s the poetry, the art with which he first made his way into ‘middle-class’ rooms, and the according lifestyle. Verse slides into his narrative unannounced, and like small, but raging rivers, they sweep the mind deeper into Kevin’s life, and into the currents of his life. Without gimmick, or histrionic, this is poetry for all ears in a voice honed carefully to its delivery.
There’s a knowing nostalgia running through much of the show, and children of the 90’s in particular may find themselves nodding along at every reference, and every daft fashion exposed. Conversely many will also see a mirror of their own lives, the costumes we wear to fit in despite the debts payable to the bank, and our hearts.
There are some parallels here between Kevin’s work and Melissa Stephens: HOT DOGS & TEARS at this year’s Fringe. Kevin’s show is better balanced, but both speak to the superbly personal wells which are being plumbed for our August pleasures. This is art which changes minds, and alters perception; it’s not always easy to experience, or perform, but it’s the lifeblood of all art.
Kevin P. Gilday: SPAM Valley is a very, very good show. Kevin is a very talented chap. It could be even better, and if Kevin keeps iterating this superb show, one hopes he might open the floor to just a little audience interaction. With such a rich well of relatable social touchstones, the nodding heads in the stalls could offer another wee, but rich dimension. This energy might lift an already potent ending to something majestic.
That said, Kevin P. Gilday: SPAM Valley is definitely recommended by The QR, and you could do your heart some good buy grabbing a ticket before the run ends.
(Image Credit: Rhiannone Stone )