Deaf In The Afternoon

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

With his debut one-man show, Steve Day seems to be staking his claim for one of the most lucrative prizes in comedy. No, not the Perrier - but the corporate gig.

For Deaf In The Afternoon is blatantly presented as one of those motivational talks so loved by those who think 'human resources' is an acceptable way to describe their job.

"Look at me," is the message. "I'm deaf, yet I've followed my dream to be a stand-up and I'm having so much fun doing it."

But to dismiss this as an anodyne go-for-it, reach-for-the-stars, follow-that-rainbow, live-for-the-moment, sort of tale would be to do a great disservice to the comic talent involved.

This may be the theme that gives extra meaning to Day's autobiographical vignettes, but they are all funny, sometimes downright hilarious, stories in their own right.

Deaf since a teenager, Day matter-of-factly explains his plight. He never expects pity, neither do we laugh at his disability. For although he's often the butt of the jokes, it's not usually his inability to hear that's mocked, but his own pride and stupidity in dealing with it.

Day's a natural on stage - the one place he doesn't have to make the effort to try to understand people talking to him. He's not a showman but a warm, witty and entertaining raconteur, keeping the audience engrossed throughout the hour (though it only seemed like ten minutes, so breezily did time pass).

There are other elements to this finely-constructed show - he must be the only person to do a fat Americans gag by putting the problems of obesity into a socio-historical context - but obviously you don't discard your unique selling point.

And there's the essence - Day has something that makes him different, and he's highly adept at explaining what that's like, for better and for worse, with a good measure of humour and a healthy dose of irony. He'll also provide a good few chuckles - and even, occasionally, a stronger laugh - along the way.

But overall, an uplifting and humorous way to start your Edinburgh day.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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