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Rob Beckett: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

Another rising star in the world of stand-up, Rob Beckett has unashamedly working-class roots and bases his set around family and the class system. If you think that sounds old hat, it is, but Beckett's puts a strong spin on it.

His delivery is a mixed bag, especially with an overuse of multimedia that without any accompanying jokes comes across as self-indulgent. He's gifted at creating apt turns of phrase and patter, but less able to maintain things when there are no immediate jokes or when links are needed between bits.

If the exposition is lengthy or there's a sense the audience aren't fully with him, the room turns slightly awkward and the silences painful. Luckily he's so twinkle-eyed and likeable when he doesn't hit the mark the reception is more magnanimous than schadenfreudean, but there's room for improvement with regard to being comfortable with his own set.

The majority of the humour is anecdotal, with some cheeky lines keeping it all from turning into an autobiography. Pop culture references are abound: with a routine on Articulate, YouTube meets + 1 TV channels, and an esoteric Honey I Shrunk the Kids reference.

All of this could have come off as exclusionary and alienate the audience, but it's hard to judge Beckett as pretentious when he's grinning cheekily at you, giving you a second to catch up before he explains it for those out of the loop.

While charismatic and engaging to watch, Beckett suffers from mediocre writing. It's clear from the set he can write good jokes, but he opts for observations over punchlines and he needs to branch out to really hit the audience. At the moment the anecdotes are acting too much as padding, and Beckett is a comic that needs regular laughs for reassurance.

There's a lot to like about Rob Beckett, and if he could overcome the issues with writing and more confidence in his own abilities, he'll be onto a winner.

Review date: 22 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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