Craig Hill (Queer Up North)
Venue: The Spiegel Tent
Typical of Queer Up North: even the tent has style. La Gayola, The Spiegeltent, boasts art deco stained glass, a bar and waiter service direct to your seat. Everything you could wish for, except leg room.
Craig Hill bounces onstage lasciviously miming to Madonna to clear up any doubts as to his sexuality. A large part of Hill’s act is inspired by interaction with the audience. Well, actually it is made up of insulting the audience. This is a routine that comics have been doing for ages but it is rare to see it sustained for so long or done so well that it does not become stale.
Although some of the jokes are generic (didn’t recognise you without the gimp mask) most arise spontaneously from Hill’s conversations with the audience. As a feat of memory and invention it is impressive but being funny as well is quite an achievement.
To give himself time to devise comments Hill slips in a few jokes of a more general nature. “Maria Carey can make any song sound good and any dress look cheap.” Gradually the act moves towards more personal anecdotes drawn from Hill’s family and his life growing up gay in Glasgow.
He is from a large family as his parents kept having children hoping for a girl. When Craig was born they decided he was close enough. This, along with characterisations of the likes of Susan Boyle, is still funny but feels more rehearsed. Although Hill keeps us involved by encouraging us to take on the role of a studio audience in a talent show it lacks the tension and edge of the early part of the show.
Ending with a singalong of “Downtown” adapted to celebrate the gay culture in Glasgow, Craig Hill gives us a perfect way to cheer up after a grim week or to start the weekend with a smile.