Theatre Royal, Glasgow. 5th September, 2021
Grayson Perry occupies a strange position- both national treasure and thorn in the side of the art establishment. The Turner prize winning artist, writer, TV presenter and raconteur is effortlessly lovable, but takes no nonsense.
This new show, A Show For Normal People, is part stand up, part sociology lecture, or as Perry has it, “psychotherapy for me…a wander around my narcissistic needs!” Interactive elements form the show’s backbone, with Perry taking the audience temperature on morality, mortality, religion and pop culture alike, through a live voting app. This challenges our unconscious bias and preconceptions, and is at times a real eye opener- around 80% don’t believe in God?- Glasgow, I’m proud of you.
Of course, it’s enormously playful as well as intelligent. Bounding onstage like the bastard offspring of Andy Pandy and Britney Spears, Perry exudes mischief throughout, with near the knuckle humour and parodies of power ballads and country songs created with Steve Brown. Yes, Perry has a decent singing voice too, although he can’t resist straining in the higher notes for giggles, and the lyrics are self-deprecating.
Sailing on the obvious bonhomie from the Glasgow crowd, Perry unflinchingly tackles taboos with that famous filthy cackle, and no topic is too esoteric- the croissant as Nazi symbol or Puffa jacket fetish sites, anyone?!
From hipsters to suburbanites, QAnon to working class tropes, nobody is spared. Perry’s sideways glance at life is what brings layers to the show. His beloved teddy bear Alan Measles even gets his own origin story and nemesis.
Ultimately, though, it’s Perry’s obsession with navigating the art world as the perennial Essex boy outsider that keeps his sparkly pink trainers firmly planted on the ground… Even as he leads the audience in a ‘dada’ singalong like a modern day Tristan Zara. If this rainbow coloured subversion is the ‘new normal’, count me in.
Touring across the UK throughout Autumn. For tickets and more information head to: