Reginald D Hunter: Fuck You In The Age of Consequence

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Whisper it quietly, but Reginald D Hunter has lost a little of his edge – even though he put ‘fuck’ in his title.

He’s still provocative, for sure, but this time he seems to be saying the wrong things for their own sake, rather than to back up – or puncture – his grand philosophising. Maybe it makes him more accessible, but this is his first show in years where I didn’t feel he’d opened my eyes as he explored bold new areas.

The only exception is his clever debunking of the ‘love is universal’ moral said to be at the heart of Brokeback Mountain. But mocking a film, even if it is symptomatic of the Hollywood machine, is relatively low down on the scale of social significance.

Movies are one obsession of this year’s show, which he says he wanted to call ‘Reginald D Hunter in Finally, A Show That Doesn’t Have The Word Nigga In The Title’. King Kong remakes, Arnie’s accent and the way Bridget Jones chick flicks exploit women form a substantial chunk of the set.

Elsewhere, the anecdotes and observations just don’t make the leaps into uncomfortable we’ve come to expect. There’s a Michael Jackson gag, something about his mum catching him as he first explores sex – even something on Monica Lewinsky. The jokes he cracks about these are funny, just not special, as he is at his impressive best.

That list of subjects deliberately selects the most familiar in his repertoire; and there’s plenty more besides that are more distinctive, and equally funny. But time was when you couldn’t draw a list like that at all.

Hunter is known for his huge stage presence and mesmerising delivery, and uses it to terrific effect here. In his most stirring routine he tells a gripping story of a woman bus driver, raped as her passengers looked on, which has a brilliant twist in the tale. The drama of the powerful tale has the audience rapt, and gets an instinctive smattering of applause at the end. But all he was doing was recounting the plot of a movie he had seen – just so he could smash the tension with a cheap joke.

It shows, should proof be needed, that he knows how to tell a cracking story, holding an entire room on the edge of their seats. But that’s also a dangerous talent, rife for complacency. Hunter’s nowhere near that yet, but he’s starting to display a few warning signs.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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