Quincy: Single Mum [Leicester Comedy Festival 2008]

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

An odd one this. Quincy’s first ever performance of his first ever solo show is one long, poignant story from his youth, which offers little opportunity for laughs; while the stand-up that bookends it is broad and unimaginative.

As the title suggests, this is about how Quincy brought up three children on his own. Or, more precisely, it’s about how he came to be in this situation in the first place, becoming a father in his early 20s, an age when he felt he really should have been playing the field.

Without giving too much away, this is far from a happy story, and he still finds it emotionally difficult to tell it. It certainly isn’t an obvious topic for comedy, and wisely Quincy doesn’t try to make it so – or maybe it’s so raw he simply can’t.

What this extended routine does demonstrate is Quincy’s exemplary skills as a storyteller, and his tragic tale, expounded with sincerity and clarity, has the audience enthralled. But quite how you’d categorise it by the time it reaches the Edinburgh Fringe in August is open to debate: this certainly isn’t humorous.

From the perspective of fitting into the genre, this central tale dominates the hour. A note of gravity often adds depth and interest to a stand-up performance, but this tale is so overwhelmingly downbeat a few light quips would simply jar, rather than lift the mood. So the result is a monologue of misery.

When it comes to the more straightforward stand-up routines that set up and close the show; well, there’s not much too them. It’s about how he’s a stereotypically incompetent male who can’t work the washing machine (is anyone in real life genuinely this inept?), about how his strict Barbadian parents used to beat information into him, and the smart-aleck responses he now has for their stock parenting phrases, more than 30 years after the event. Nothing, really, that you wouldn’t have heard other comics doing – and doing better.

On a more minor point, which could be down to his unfamiliarity with the show in these early days, is that his sometimes hesitant delivery can grate. He has this habit, yeah?, of interrupting himself, yeah?, with the nervous verbal ticks, yeah?, that make him sound like a black David Brent, know what I mean?

But is main concern between now and Edinburgh will be how to properly marry the heart-rending story that he is so good at telling with the comedy routines that are currently a lot less notable. Either that or shove it in the theatre programme and hang the laughs…

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Leicester, February 13, 2008

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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