Molly Stewart

Edinburgh Fringe review: Chris Coltrane, Left-Wing Propaganda Machine

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Chris Coltrane’s Left-Wing Propaganda Machine is a show that does, to the letter, exactly what it says on the tin.

Not that it’s any surprise from Coltrane, and actually despite a politics-heavy base-coat, the show is an enjoyably varied mix of political observation and personal anecdotal material.

Coltrane introduces his own show as ‘political whimsy’, the latter description being something I always find difficult to pin down. Whimsy seems to be so broadly thrown about, to describe so broad a spectrum of comedy.

Perhaps it fits here, though. Coltrane’s show is politics-led, undoubtedly; but the smiling positivity and often innocence with which he presents his material possibly demands the whimsy title.

Bizarrely, Coltrane was up against a very confusing audience: to all intents and purposes, the perfect audience – cheering Corbyn and booing another five years of the Tories; but a sleepy, Friday afternoon audience all the same, escaping the rain and bedding into the Banshee Labrynth’s cinema room. A bemused Coltrane, even, couldn’t help but question whether we were on board: we all were.

Left-Wing Propaganda Machine flits from being totally accessible to completely, politically niche; but even then, Coltrane’s undying enthusiasm (even in the face of a crowd who seemed to be feigning disinterest at times) ensures that no one is left behind.

Coltrane’s use of multimedia elements are particularly enjoyable. As the audience files in, we’re met with increasingly absurd, gently amusing ‘facts’ about Coltrane; as well as a more obviously hilarious presentation of Donald Trump’s real life, real bad tweets.

Coltrane never relies too heavily on his visual content – his material is good enough not to require it – but he uses it well to break up what could be a heavy, special interest show. He is a wide-eyed, passionate act though; this alone prevents anything becoming too narrow or alienating.

Despite the audience apparently being in on the joke, Coltrane’s show perhaps suffered ever so slightly from the sporadic lack of reception from the audience. Regardless, this is a friendly, inclusive and enjoyably funny hour of interesting political discussion.

3 Stars

Date of live review: Friday 21 August 2015 @ Banshee Labrynth, Edinburgh

Click to read all our 2015 Edinburgh Fringe coverage so far.