2022 – Leo Reich Review – The roaring narcissistic shooter of Generation Z | Edinburgh Festival 2022


aOne of the countless acts on this fringe whose Covid-delayed debut seems to be long overdue, Leo Reich makes literally who cares?! Make up for lost time in an amazing way! Absolutely undeniable, it marks the arrival of a new star – which would come as no surprise to Reich, who considers his colossal ego and self-promotion to be the dominant irony. “I’ll Never Be/Because I’m the Hero of Life” is one of several lyrical breaks that grace the 23-year-old’s introductory lesson. So here’s another one – one of the best – from those that turn the Generation Z experience (performance as an identity; everything is commodity; a world on fire) into a gritty, gritty, groovy comedy.

He clearly follows in the footsteps of such acts as Kate Berlant, Catherine Cohen, and before them Bo Burnham. Reich doesn’t comment on his generational experience, but rather exemplifies it by flaunting his now burgeoning self-esteem, which is now as raw in front of us as so many Instagram photos. Like Berlant, the audience is considered lucky to be in his company. Like Cohen, he sings about having sex with people who hate him. But in Reich’s hands none of that feels debilitated as he exaggerates the trauma of his upbringing, laments the burdens of adulthood (“we were made to do the emotional work of knowing things about things”) and Love Island as a putative metaphor of our hard times.

Reich is the absolute master of this material, delivering it here with campy inscription, and an exaggerated frown—always in quotes. If every now and then one of his veils of many paradoxes seems to disappear, it is not the paradox that matters he is Finding the truth for a Reich group in their twenties and manipulating the mortar they use to assemble their characters? Unable to remember his actual beliefs (he lost the phone he wrote on it), and vaguely about how he actually feels (there is a rich joke about how repressed or happy acting leads to the same endorphins as reality), there is a havoc Reich builds his business without any sacrifice of joy. After all, the gags here—there’s a crack at gay monogamy and women’s oppression—first-class and showcasing are a must.

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