Chris Stokes: An Opera Written on Napkins

Review by Simon Pattullo | 14 Aug 2012
  • Chris Stokes

Chris Stokes stands in front of a small, overheating audience as the temperature rises in the room. He brings out an air conditioning unit as flyers become makeshift fans, and he talks about his gran.

He talks about his gran, friends, family and antagonising alpha males, and it’s terrific. Self-deprecating and totally personable, every one of the audience is rapt. As he calls back punchlines from previous tales we get to laugh at the bits we’d forgotten. The sound engineer, in particular, is enjoying herself, as does a lady in the front row who gasps, ‘oh God…’ as he dives into a tale of being bullied in a Superman outfit.

The title, he admits, could be a bit misleading since there is no space for any tenors here. There are no standard jokes in this set either; rather, we receive a man telling stories of pedantics, of recycling housekeys, of a remarkable case of mistaken identity, and it’s all so naturally delivered it’s a delight. He’ll no doubt be on telly or at a bigger, cooler venue soon, but it’d definitely be a fine few pounds spent to see him here.


Chris Stokes: An Opera Written on Napkins, Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 August, 17:45, £8.00/£7.00