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Nathan Caton: Get Rich Or Die Cryin'

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Corry Shaw

Nathan Caton's third Fringe show offers another entertaining hour, but he is still not quite living up to his potential.

Caton is a likable and charismatic character who enjoys bantering with his audience, getting some early laughs whilst dealing with some latecomers and instantly builds up a good rapport with his crowd. He does lean on the audience quite often either to create a segueway into new topics or to create some extra laughs to complement his punchlines. Less polished performers can sometimes make this technique feel like padding but Caton has it nailed, he relishes the unexpected lines and has a comeback for everything.

Unfortunately his unscripted banter often gets some of the biggest laughs of the show, as his material, despite being entertaining and well delivered, has been covered from every different angle over the past decade. Hip hop tracks have silly lyrics, black people like chicken and black women can be scary if you piss them off. There is nothing goundbreaking or new here. Caton claims he thinks that racial stereotyping is ridiculous and although he has a couple of great lines to prove the point, it does seem odd that he has written almost his whole show with gags based on these lazy stereotypes.

He seems to excuse some of his more obvious gags by setting them up as 'ironic' or persuading the audience that he is merely showing how stupid the concept is. Doing a whole set piece of 'your mum' jokes that we've all heard on buses or trains cannot be forgiven unless there is a better punchline than the fact a nine-year-old girl managed to outcuss him.

There are some big laughs in here though; he has a nice way with a metephor and employs callbacks to tie the various narrative strands together neatly. Even some of the more obvious material can have nice personal touches that are engaging and relatable. When he talks about his family there is a real warmth and clear love for his wannabe-gangsta little brother, his fiercely independent and inspiring mum and his super-strict but loving grandma.

Getting this insight into Caton’s background is both interesting and amusing, as his storytelling skills are sharp and keep the audience captivated for the hour.

There is no doubt he is a competent writer and a superb performer he just needs to break away from some of the tired topics he chooses to cover before he will progress to that elusive four-star review.

Review date: 5 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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