Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Ivo Graham‘s new show focuses on his attempts at coming to terms with fatherhood, allowing him to take the audience on a journey that encompasses both awkward discussions about whether finding change for the hospital car park is the most important priority during childbirth and the embarrassing situation of having to use a nursery rhyme website to write your rap for an ITV2 hip-hop comedy show.

However, these aren’t the only routines that Graham has up his sleeve, with his acknowledgement about his background coming through in a joke about attending a Boules tournament with Boris Johnson’s brother that subverts Graham’s attempts to…well, subvert his Old Etonian upbringing.

What helps Graham during this show is the sheer confidence of his onstage presence, with his lengthy Fringe experience resulting in exchanges with the audience flowing naturalistically without any pauses. A later moment of distraction due to the noise of heavy rainfall outside is milked by Graham for all its comedic potential, turning what would have thrown off a less experienced performer into a great comedic opportunity for him that pays off with uproarious laughter from the packed audience.

This confidence extends to Graham’s delivery of his material, with each humorous anecdote seamlessly merging from one to another. This results in stories that could have felt clichéd in the wrong hands, such as recounting his experiences with his old jalopy of a car, instead feeling fresh and funny due to Graham’s expressiveness and energy. This approach doesn’t help all of his material, with a long-promised dentist story falling a little flat in comparison to the rest of the show.

This misstep aside, The Game of Life is an entertaining ride through the life of an experienced comedian whose seasoned professionalism belies his relatively young age (28 years old). Here’s hoping that Graham can document the growing pains of fatherhood in a similarly sharp and witty manner in the coming years.