It has been a tough few years for Shapiro. After a hit Fringe debut in 2007 he was involved in an amnesia-inducing car accident that left him in need of serious rehabilitation and earlier this year a cardiac episode saw him re-admitted to hospital for some months. This is Shapiro’s first stand-up routine since re-learning his trade, lending certain poignancy to the show title “rebirth”.
As Shapiro made his entrance, one couldn’t help wondering if his decision to return to the stage was perhaps a little rash. The man, who (by his own admission) used to be so energetic and vibrant, seemed almost decrepit, an impression that was further compounded by his intermittently slurred speech. More than anything these things seemed to frustrate Shapiro, a comic once famed for his free-flowing, rhythmic lyricism.
There were moments when the stand-up of old did shine through, moments of improvisation that proved the complications of the last few years have done little to dull Shapiro’s wit, and if you have enjoyed his comedy in the past then you probably won’t be disappointed.
A word of warning though; Rick Shapiro is extremely rude, unfathomably coarse in fact, no doubt far too lurid for most audiences and I would be very careful whom I took to this show, it was evident throughout the performance that opinions were decisively split, with some members of the crowd in rapturous giggles, and others sitting solemnly appalled.
For me though, the show left a strange taste. Impressed? Sort of, but perhaps more with the man than the performance.
Rick Shapiro: Rebirth
Assembly George Square
Until 27 August, 18:10
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