Edinburgh Festival

Martin Creed's Words and Music

Festival Theatre Studio

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Neil Cooper

four stars

THE words 'YES' and 'NO' flash up in turn on a screen at the back of the stage. The array of guitars, speakers and a laptop in front of it suggest an intimate gig of a grassroots persuasion. Whether any of this is still in place by the end of Turner Prize winning polymath Martin Creed's three week late night run remains to be seen. Creed, as he is at pains to point out, doesn't want to repeat himself in any way. In the spirit of such good intentions, no spoiler alerts are required here, for a show which effectively does what it says on the tin, but which finds its eccentric auteur questioning his every action.

“I made some notes,” Creed says, after breezing on with two large jotters under his arm. He looks somewhere between a 1970s social studies lecturer and the same era's edition of Donald Sutherland. “But whatever the opposite of taking notes is, I don't want that.”

Over the next eighty minutes, Creed's obsessively symmetrical lines of inquiry are guffaw-inducingly funny and chin-scratchingly profound. It's as if he is the result of some Frankenstein's monster style experiment that fused Billy Connolly, Albert Einstein and a friendly Mark E Smith, and lived to tell the tale. Creed revels in his own perceived failures, and muses on what might happen if he met himself and was too polite to point out the rubbish he was talking. He explores the soup of his own mind, and sings raw minimalist ditties that put him in attractive opposition to himself. As waywardly joyful as this is, be aware none of it may happen tonight. Visit often.