Elvis McGonagall

Comedy/spoken word

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Armed with a blunderbuss, a bottle of Scotch and his rabid wit, stand-up poet Elvis McGonagall emerges from his godforsaken rural idyll at the Graceland Caravan Park to take aim at this septic isle. Land of robber barons and food banks, of Kirstie Allsopp cupcakery and dead badgers. Downtrodden Abbey plc starring polo-playing oligarchs and zero-hour serfs. What’s going on? And why is Benedict Cumberbatch swinging from the chandeliers in a Spiderman onesie? Find out as Elvis rises up from his revolting armchair to kick against the pricks. Viva McGonagall! Bring your own pitchfork.

Written by:

Richard Smith

Directed by:

Helen Smith


Elvis McGonagall

Running time:

80 mins, two acts, one interval

Available dates:

Spring/Autumn 2016


Fringe 2015 reviews for Elvis McGonagall: Countrybile

Serving up some wonderfully acerbic left-wing verse, stand-up poet Elvis McGonagall delivers his views on all things topical. From Cameron, Osborne and Merkel, to hipsters, talent shows and the Queen, no one is safe from his rhymes. With the air of an old-school rocker and sporting a dapper tartan teddy-boy blazer, his presence and charismatic delivery bring the poems to life. McGonagall is a lyrical master, weaving in plenty of Scottish colloquialisms and bags of humour. He perfectly critiques all the things that are wrong with the world, focusing on his experiences of life in Scotland, London and rural Dorset. Catch him while you can, this is exactly the sort of thing the Fringe was made for.  THREE WEEKS EDINBURGH

 Performance poet Elvis McGonagall’s Countrybile (Stand in the Square) not surprisingly deals with the trials — and benefits — of living in the country and, appropriately enough, the show takes place in a yurt.  Fans of his pointed political poetry need not fear though — there’s still plenty of that, particularly now that “the Lib Dem stabilisers are off the Tory tricycle of doom.”

But the new show deals more in lifestyle topics than pure politics, although that doesn’t mean that targets aren’t skewered. Kirstie Allsopp’s self-help programmes, Mamils — middle aged men in Lycra — and in particular the heartfelt lament of pub bar staff — “Are you being served? — point up the reality of so-called rural idylls. Not that all is nasty in the woodshed. A lovely lyrical piece on Purbeck, the “enduring isle,” celebrates the beauty and persistence of landscape. 

But politics will out and the routines Greece is the word and No more Mr Nice Guy, a hymn to aspiration, plant us back in modern times.  McGonagall’s genius is his ability to hone his language into a rapier-like instrument and then to plant it firmly between the ribs that deserve it. “Bend it like Blatter,” indeed.

Some more familiar material is woven into the show from the litany of Scottish icons in The Scottish Lion’s Rampant to the gangsta rap version of the Queen’s Speech — “Bessie in the big house” is indeed “comin’ atcha.”  In the process, McGonagall’s gift for impression stands out, making this a top lunchtime treat. Go.  MORNING STAR

Where Manchester has John Cooper Clarke, Dundee has Elvis McGonagall. Here he returns to the Fringe with a typical blend of wonderful writing, tack-sharp humour and uncompromising politics. A former lawyer, McGonagall has been performing energetic poetry infused with a socialist passion (while wearing a tartan jacket) for 12 years. Now in his fifties, he and his wife (with dog in tow) decided some years back to move out of London and set up camp in rural Dorset.

Happily, neither this move to greener pastures nor towards middle age has tamed him, McGonagall's sense of injustice remaining intact with poems about Cameron, Osborne, the aftermath of the Scottish independence vote and Thatcher 'dead in her bed at the Ritz'. As you'd expect from such a seasoned poet, the verse is beautifully penned with lines such as 'leapt like a Salmond, float like a Sturgeon' and the chat in between the verse has its own musicality.

But there is still room in Countrybile for poetry that takes in his pastoral surroundings and a piece about the summer tourists in the pub where he sometimes works forms a simple yet hilarious rant. At least by being at the Fringe he's getting a couple of weeks off.  THE LIST