Nathan Caton: Teenage Mutant Nathan Caton
Affable Nathon Caton has got all the elements for a successful show, but they don’t quite work in concert, ultimately leaving this feeling like a comedy-club set with an affectionate family story tagged on rather than a inherently funny tale begging to be told – or more importantly heard.
He starts hesitantly, slowly feeling his way into a comfortable groove with audience chit-chat, that’s only semi-successful. That sits alongside workmanlike but unspectacular routines. There are comments on the Scottish independence debate, which he likens, not particularly imaginatively, to a marital break-up, while he separately points out that Nigel Farage has got an inconveniently non-Anglo-Saxon surname.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that give him the title were big in his childhood, and he engages in some critical dissection of the current Michael Bay big-screen reboot, rather lost on anyone unconcerned with either incarnation, myself included. For the rest, its comforting nostalgia. The heroes in a half-shell return later as a storytelling MacGuffin, but it seems (perhaps unfairly) a little artificial.
The emotional heart of the show emerges from his paternal relationship with his significantly younger brother, and the similarly protective attitude he had over his mother when partners mistreated her. His no-nonsense gran makes an appearance, too, vividly described. These portraits are warm and endearing, but with limited comic payoff – and he never quite built up enough momentum to earn a laugh-free indulgence.
Themes about responsibility abound whether in his own attitudes to his relatives or whether, as a twentysomething man he really ought to be standing on his own two feet, not still living at home. But there’s not much he can add to the well-mined subject beyond straightforward illustrative stories of his experiences.
It all makes the audience like him, for he’s good company, but the content doesn’t feel enough to warrant an hour of your time.
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