Review: Rich Wilson: Death Becomes Him at Gilded Balloon Teviot

Rich Wilson’s story is a real-life Fringe fairytale. From a heartfelt Twitter plea midway through week one to a run of sold-out shows by week three, it’s a warming sight, but is it justified? 

In a word, absolutely.

As the audience filter into the room, Wilson is sat down on stage flicking through a magazine, greeting everyone on arrival, instantly making them feel at home. The concept of purgatory and end of life reflection is what leads the show. 

There’s no sob-stories, no hard-luck tales, it’s a remarkably honest self-assessment of mistakes made and lessons learned from early school days to the man he is today. 

Open shower curtain tales of selfish streaks, sexuality, drugs and a marriage breakdown are retold with astonishing humility. It’s hard not to be on his side, even when he makes it pretty clear that more often than not he was the guilty party and the director of his downfall. 

It’s an incredibly personal show which he brings the whole audience into with some excruciatingly candid memoirs. However, it manages to toe the line well without overstepping the mark. 

One or two stories get lost along the way, but it’s important to remember that for many comedians, the Fringe is where the show finds its voice and true meaning. Like picking a lock, Death Becomes Him isn’t far away at all from fully clicking and should open many doors for the comedian.

Shaking everyone’s hand and personally thanking them on the way out is a real touch of class too.

Rich Wilson: Death Becomes Him at Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 25 Aug,  4:30 pm

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