Stuart Goldsmith: Compared To What | Review by Steve Bennett

Stuart Goldsmith: Compared To What

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

Stuart Goldsmith’s sixth solo show is an unfussy hour of down-the-line observational stand-up, revolving around those most identifiable of subjects for a middle-aged man: becoming a father and moving to from the city to the countryside.

But he infuses the material with a sly wit and and underplayed sharpness, not to mention eloquent writing. So it may be another routine about changing a baby’s nappy, but as stories about toxic shit go, it’s a very enjoyable one.

He paints a more subtle picture of where he is in life than the standard ‘I’m settling down, having less fun’ mode of many comics his age. The responsibility of keeping a helpless child alive is immense, and he feels it heavily; this is not just a lament for lost clubbing days. Though in some middle-class parties, he sees others take drugs to escape their drudgery, then come back to reality with a sigh, painting a telling picture.

His description of the city, too, is like an Homeric epic, the very place itself subjecting your body and soul to a thousand daily torments, but as you emerge, bloodied but still surviving, you have toughened up your spirit. That’s not quite what he sees from an unhurried bucolic life in the village where ambition goes to die

Goldsmith talks about having insecurities, but on stage, he’s charming assured nice guy, with a thoroughly engaging manner - no wonder he’s filled his room on a Monday evening; no one could dislike this.

And while Compared To What doesn’t quite boast the same flourishes or emotional tug which made his 2015 show, An Hour, such a treat, there is a great final payoff; a punchline he spent the previous 55 minutes setting up without you realising. This is smooth, smart and absorbing stand-up.

Review date: 25 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Liquid Room Annexe

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