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Charlie Baker: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Julia Chamberlain

What a joy this show is, so far the most laughs I’ve had in a comedy show this Fringe. If that seems curiously lowbrow and unintellectual, sorry, but it is comedy, it’s not unreasonable to expect to have a good laugh or be delighted with a turn of phrase.

This year, it seems simply entertaining a crowd with a high gag rate is out of fashion. so what a relief that Charlie Baker doesn’t give a stuff about fashion.

It’s quite a humble show – a comedian being grateful for his charmed life and being lucky enough to do what he does, thanks to the early doting support of his family and then his wife, it’s a happy story. And it is an absolute romp, with some shout-with-laughter moments, as he paints himself as a bit of a narcissistic arsehole, for which you readily forgive him.

And humble though he is, his confidence in his own abilities was very reassuring, he takes the responsibility for his audience having a good time, there was no suggestion that we might not get this until later. It made me realise how often the diffident, self-deprecating approach of other acts puts pressure on the audience to put the performer at ease. That is the wrong way round.

He greeted the audience professionally, explained that it would be an autobiographical show and then didn’t stop entertaining the crowd with stories of family squabbles, first kisses, school, dance, marriage, an easy anecdotal hour with callbacks and a great gathering of strands at the end.

There’s no moment of instant added sincerity or a plea for world peace, just a solid, uncontrived hour of stories and routines that leave you in no doubt that you’re in the company of a good all-round entertainer.

Unusually I didn’t check my watch at all during this, and the hour seemed packed with warmth and humour. Remembering that audiences pay to watch these shows, unlike reviewers, they absolutely get their money’s worth from Charlie Baker.

Review date: 11 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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