Love Innocence And The Word Cock

Note: This review is from 2001

Review by Steve Bennett

He may look like an Open University lecturer who's been dragged through an Oxfam shop backwards, but Daniel Kitson is going to be a star.

Now sporting a marvellously unkempt beard - as if his Jim Royle glasses, scraggly hair and stutter weren't attracting enough ridicule - Kitson defies every convention in the increasing prevalent world of slick, confident stand-ups tossing their glib observations at the audience.

Kitson began to attract attention at last year's Fringe for the way he commanded the rowdiest of Late 'n' Live audiences with his laddish, foul-mouthed and spontaneous banter - spiky enough to dominate the beered-up audience yet also self-deprecating enough to avoid downright aggression.

Adapting this full-on style to the more willing audiences you get at one-man shows may have been a challenge - but it is one Kitson has triumphantly met.

Discarding all the usual pretence of the stand-up - including the microphone - Kitson just starts talking. And pretty soon the audience starts laughing. But not just in a 'ha ha, that's very amusing,' sort of way - great gales of uncontrolled belly laughter.

Maybe it's his open style, happily admitting his own failings, that proves so infectious, or his playground sense of silly fun, sharing the sheer glee of being naughty, but the unadulterated joy never flags for a second.

All the usual structures of comedy seem to be out the window. No clever set-ups, no well-crafted routines, just simple, but hilarious, stories that reduce the most cynical to helpless laughter.

It actually comes as a surprise at the end of 60 woefully short minutes that there actually was a theme to this funniest of shows, although it makes sense in retrospect. It's even more of a surprise theme is the loss of innocence, given that it's Kitson's almost childlike take on life that drives the show so successfully to its great heights.

This show should be on everyone's 'must-see' list, as it will be, quite simply, one of the funniest hours you'll spend in Edinburgh this year.

All that, and you get a badge too. Mine says 'cock'.

Review date: 1 Jan 2001
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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