Thursday, 27 June 2013

Daniel Kitson review - Corn Exchange 28th May

It takes a special kind of comedian to sell out the Corn Exchange weeks in advance for a performance on the Tuesday night after a Bank Holiday, particularly when that comic is notoriously publicity shy.

But then Daniel Kitson is not your normal stand-up.

Eschewing the round of game shows, corporate tours and DVDs that are bread and butter to other comedians, he's attracted a cult following with his own brand of thoughtful philosophical comedy.

Newbury was one of the first pit stops on his new “After the Beginning, Before the End” tour which is a show about…well…everything.
Covering the biggest subjects from life, memory, perception and experience, Kitson seats himself at a table and operates a mini sound desk that produces repetitive metronomic beats as a background to his monologue, giving the impression of being inside his head.

After opening with a simple everyday question: “Tell me a bit about yourself”, and discussing the impossibility of understanding another person’s life, he then intersperses his thoughts on human experience with snippets of a recording of a conversation he had with his friend.

This builds up line-by-line to prove that each human’s memory of certain events is as he put it, “just one side of a dodecahedron on an ocean of infinite dodecahedra”, but this was such more than just an essay on Montaigne’s philosophy.

Kitson’s faltering, but rhythmic poetic delivery might be a thing of genius and raw beauty but it also contains unstoppable humour. He invites the audience on a journey to share his existential angst and inner-most soul searching for the meaning in his life, such as examining in great detail why he is living alone at the age of 35. Just when these soliloquys become too much to take, the window into his psyche is expertly shattered a simple laugh garnered by recalling the hilarious prank he played on a date after walking her to her car.

Kitson is clearly loved by audiences everywhere and part of this may be down to his vulnerability or his ability to overthink jaw-droppingly simple subjects. The audience will always think of Kitson now should they ‘google’ themselves or pass someone in the street who appears to be quite attractive, recalling Kitson’s inner conflict at deciding whether he’s shallow for objectifying a woman for being beautiful.

Daniel – hurry back to Newbury please. And if he does, I would recommend booking your ticket now.


Appeared in the Newbury Weekly News June 20

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