Irish comedian Chris Kent returns to the Fringe with his sixth solo show, Looking Up. Kent has spent the past year balancing comedy with being a stay-at-home dad and trying to grow a beard, which as he appears on stage clean-shaven clearly didn’t work out well…
Kent’s delivery is hilariously deadpan as he weaves stories of the mundane into amusing anecdotes. Now living in England with his wife and toddler, the stand-up has experienced challenges as he discovers a new world of Peppa Pig, Rhyme Time and second birthday parties which involve tapas, an ice cream van and a DJ – a far cry from his Cork roots. The laughter comes from watching the comedian relive his frustrations of everyday encounters with clever, dry humour.
The hour of comedy is well constructed with minimal audience participation, ideal for anyone scared of being teased by a professional comic. Kent explains that his small talk is terrible. In fact, a blind woman he helped to cross the road abandoned his aid halfway across. She’d rather face her fate with the traffic than continue to converse with him. At one pivotal point the comedian asks an audience member how they would handle a specific situation (which I won’t spoil) resulting in an exchange so funny the crowd struggle to contain themselves.
The subjects may be familiar, but the comedy comes from the personality and perspective of Kent whose show culminates in a horrendous airport experience which many can empathise with. When you leave the show, you will marvel at how Kent, a natural storyteller, manages to include everything from a Thai sex show experience to watching his father dress up as Mickey Mouse without the narrative feeling forced.
So much Fringe comedy relies on props and gimmicks but the simplicity of watching one performer on a mic just telling funny stories to an engaged audience can never be underestimated.