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Nathan Caton: Breakfast at Stephanie’s

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Corry Shaw

After a slightly shaky, overacted audio intro, Nathan Caton launches into his second solo show, which again focuses strongly on his family’s reactions to him giving up his degree in architecture to pursue a career in comedy.

When Caton gets over the initial hesitant start and finds his rhythm the story flows well and, despite the fairly scripted feel, he keeps it fresh with ad libs and some audience banter.

The story revolves around Caton's grandmother Stephanie, and her displeasure with her grandson’s career and life choices. Caton captures her distaste and tone beautifully, quoting some of her favourite sayings and going into detail about her opinions on everything from race, to religion to food – opinions which range from the endearing to the worrying and may explain why the race issue is quite prominent.

Caton has opened a window into his personal and working life and has created an engaging and entertaining glance into his life and philosophies. He states that we should not all be so politically correct and makes the point that race should not become such a taboo subject to be tip-toed around. That idea gives him licence to reinforce some racial stereotypes stating there is nothing scarier than an angry black woman, complete with the neck rolling and hand waving mime.

There are some straight gags on display, too, with material about Raoul Moat eliciting a groan from the friendly crowd – a response that pales in comparison to the reaction that an outdated but well written Maddy McCann reference evokes.

Caton is clearly a talented performer and writer but despite the personal subject matter the heavily scripted story sometimes lacks emotion, which creates the impression that some of the stories may be completely fictional, reducing the potential power of the piece.

Hopefully with more performances he will relax into the story with a more natural delivery and give his grandmother a show to be really proud of.

Review date: 10 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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