Sean Collins: Mid-Life Crisis

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Sean Collins is a first-class comedian and a compelling raconteur with the know how to play a small crowd. He deserves better numbers. He has two shows on the Fringe and Midlife Crisis is the riveting confessional one. At just 40, and a career comic for 16 years, his own crisis is the reverse of the usual civilian's boredom with marriage, children and stagnating career. Sean had done the serial shagging, ridden the Harley, done the drugs and probably bought and lost the T-shirt too. His concern was failing to be settled, not breeding, not putting down roots.

The first section of the show deals with his early life, the stable extended family, the wholesome farm existence. He's got a good voice and expressive face and tales of his adolescent self using drugs to get through the ordeal of family parties don't make him seem like a complete hound, nor are they tedious, whacked-out tales of the munchies, giggling or trying to appear straight before the police. Many comedians tell drug stories, but his are beautifully related, without any false sense of excitement.

He moves on to telling us how he relocated from Canada to the UK for the comedy scene, capturing the outsider's horror of the clamour and insularity of London life. The biggest section of the show deals with the trauma of trying to marry his English woman. Not so hard you'd think ­ he has the NI number, pays tax, works regularly, is legally resident and is a Canadian. Not good enough.

The trials and tribulations of dealing with Home Office bureaucracy are recounted, the scary father in law enters the scene, the wedding countdown is running. Never before has getting married taken on such an aspect of Kafkaesque nightmare. And it is funny. He has perfected the art of the entertaining digression, without ever losing the thread. In other hands this sequence of frustrations would mount in a screaming rant, but Sean is more sophisticated, it's dramatic and without irritating hyperbole.

It's a good story, well told with few of the tropes of club comedy, demonstrating you don't have to be banging out the stand-up all the time to be a fine comedian.

Julia Chamberlain

 

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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