Radu Isac: Good Excuses For Sociopaths

In his new show ‘Good Excuses for Sociopaths’ Radu Isac invites us to rot in our own self-satisfied complacency, in an hour that’s as grounding as it is deeply relatable. However, the intrigue of his notably cold worldview aside,  Isac struggles to reach many big laughs.

The show starts sloppily, with Isac making a lot of promises of what’s coming, many of which are hard to believe considering his initially awkward demeanor – notably his claim that he will spend much of the show “pushing the line”. Surprisingly, he does live up to this claim, on numerous occasions claiming roaring laughter from half the audience and silence from the other. The darkness that slowly smogs the performance seems to almost alter the room itself, with the atmosphere gradually switching to that of some quasi cold war bunker (exaggerated by the explosive sound of distant fireworks throughout the performance). The miserabalist worldview and controversy seeking nature he projects, while enthralling, could be a big turn off for many.

Isac directs this misanthropic and hyper-cynical ideals onto the usual suite of subjects (love, work etc), painting a bleakly grounded depiction of the modern western experience without ever treading into the realms of pseudo-intellectual wankery. This bluntness leads to many brilliant laughs without the need of traditional build-up, punchline etc. Sadly Isac does frequently fall back on this form of gag as well, but lacks the charisma and sincerity to pull them off, leading to much polite laughter from the audience.

While clumsy at times and peppered in small faults, Isac still offers an apt vent of an unhealthy mindset most understand but likely avoid, leaving you with an odd sense of cathartic release and satisfaction when the show prematurely ends.

★★★ 1/2

Louis Boyd Madsen

Radu Isac: Good Excuses For Sociopaths 20:30 Just The Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre

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