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Daniel Kitson: It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Bruce Dessau

All the recent fuss over the Foster's Comedy God could have been avoided if only the public had done the glaringly obvious thing and voted for Daniel Kitson. Not only is he the most naturally gifted stand-up to emerge in recent memory, but, as his latest storytelling piece at the Traverse proves, he is also a truly great writer, with a talent for a phrase and a way with a narrative that is simply breathtaking. 

It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later echoes many themes that have cropped up in previous Kitson monologues. He loves old people, parks and kettles and they are all present and correct. But most of all he loves those little mundane yet magical instances in life and that is really what this is about.

Time, as he points out, is just a ‘torrent of moments’. Over 90 minutes Kitson seamlessly paints a vivid picture of the fictional lives of William and Caroline, whose paths only ever cross for a nanosecond by chance. He is quick to dispel that notion that this is going to be a romance at the start, explaining in typically pithy style that it is ‘no more a story about love than the Bible is a story about woodwork’.

On a simple set, surrounded by nothing but starry lights, chairs and a stepladder, Kitson shuffles around and recounts their separate biographies jumping back and forth across timelines from birth to death. William and Caroline are nothing special, yet in the hands of this master every incident is riveting and pregnant with meaning, from Caroline's childhood minor accident falling down a hill and her wish to build a treehouse as a pensioner, to William's desire to make sure his final words are the right words. 

And words, of course, is what this is all about. Kitson has an absolute passion for language and evokes striking image after striking image so that by the end you really feel you know William and Caroline.  ‘Ponderous perusals’ and ‘verbal vetoes’ are just two of many finely-honed phrases that stick out.

Oh, and of course he is exceptionally funny, particularly during a jabby-fingered riff about how the same chat-up lines are constantly used with different women. He is so good he does not even need gags to get everyone giggling. This is a man who can make an entire audience smile as one just by saying the word ‘toboggan’. 

Are there any other problems with this celebration of the glory and tedium of being alive? Not really. Except that Kitson has decided to perform it at 10am, which really tests your devotion. But it is undoubtedly worth the effort. I can't think of a better way to start the day. Godlike indeed. 

Review date: 14 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dessau

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