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Scott Gibson: Like Father Like Son review

| Comedy | 31/08/2017

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Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Gibson follows up his debut smash with an equally engrossing and darkly funny tale of abandonment.

Last year, Scott Gibson impressed the judges with Life After Death, his debut show documenting a sudden brain haemorrhage that called time on his call centre career, and picked up the award for Best Newcomer at the Fringe.  While his candidly entertaining storytelling style suggested the Glaswegian wouldn’t be a one-hit wonder, some doubted whether Gibson could repeat the trick.  Could he uncover enough interesting material in Like Father Like Son to pull off another hit, especially given his recent problems with the authorities?  The answer is ‘yes’.

In this show, Gibson addresses his relationship with an absent father and explores whether it accounts for his fear of having children.  Fear isn’t the right word.  Although his girlfriend’s keen to start a family, Gibson’s physically repelled by the idea.  With tongue firmly in cheek, he bemoans the fact kids don’t play out and disappear like they did in the 80s, and that his nephew can’t draw his likeness while “there are kids in China who can build a Playstation at gunpoint”.  This is typical of Gibson’s style, casting out bold assertions intended to shock before dragging the line gently back to show his humanity – something of a throwback to 80s club comedy.

Yet the central topic of filial abandonment is handled with incredible sensitivity.  His father left when Gibson was five, before eventually settling in the US.  Gibson’s honest about the hurt this caused and the fear he’ll repeat the pattern, but finds humour in the occasions his father has let him down since, such as the time he asked his son to smuggle a jar of beetroot past Homeland Security.  And he handles the subject of blame cautiously, appearing puzzled by – rather than angry with – how he was treated.  He even describes his father as a hero, recounting when the man dived into a swimming pool wearing electrical hearing aides to rescue his mother from drowning.

Despite the serious subject matter, Gibson injects a huge amount of – often dark – humour into the show through digressions about his weight (“If I get a sock on without farting, I give myself a biscuit”), the modern on-demand mentality (“You don’t hear people getting strangled any more – no one’s taking the time to kill like they once did”) and how he cries at home improvement shows (“when they build a special room for wee Wolfie who has a massive heed, one eye and a hook for a hand”) while his grandfather only teared up upon seeing his first pineapple.

Gibson ties things together by describing how he cared for his father after a stroke, even “nipping a shite – the ultimate sign of love” to allow him to use the bathroom.  It seems he’s found some peace in getting to know his father and in releasing that perhaps he’s not like him.  Maybe next year’s show will be about children after all.

Scott Gibson performed ‘Like Father Like Son’ at the Edinburgh Fringe during August at Gilded Balloon Teviot.  See Scott’s official website or follow him on Twitter @bigscottgibson for details of his next London shows.

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