Daniel Kitson @ The Stand

Regrets have never been so much fun

Review by Ben Venables | 15 Aug 2018

There's a view in comedy circles that the hour-long Fringe show is unsuited to stand-up and comedians must devise inventive and theatrical ways to get round an inevitable '40 minute lull'. It's an argument usually heard with some sympathy – but it does mean completely ignoring Daniel Kitson. 

Good for Glue is a work-in-progress told from A4 sheets, almost twice the length of most shows and it takes place in a time slot (midnight) when everyone's concentration is flagging. For Kitson, who often camps out in the theatre section, it's also quite back-to-basics stand-up. Tonight, the energy doesn't flag and everyone here would've stayed until dawn if The Stand had let us. 

The back-to-basics approach we should take with a pinch of salt. Kitson revels this evening in crowd work that's beneath him (teasing an old codger), occasional catchphrases, some call and response stuff and it even ends on a big musical number. Perhaps not what we expect from a stand-up philosopher unless he's deconstructing the form. But, as it stands, and while this is all done Kitson's way, Good for Glue can be enjoyed on straightforward terms. It doesn't come across as some clever game at all. It's impish and fun – it's jolly. 

Don't despair though: there's plenty of rumination on the tragedy of us all never really being able to communicate with each other, the hopelessness of existence and, especially, the accumulation of regret. Perhaps Kitson has read Marie Kondo's popular bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, which advises folding up your clothes and throwing everything else away for a de-cluttered house and mind. If he has read it, he didn't like it much: but he'd agree objects seem to have their own animated life and we're emotionally anchored to our things.

Kitson prefers not to chuck anything away but to probe that relationship. And he charts his history through his household objects. It all makes for a show that's both a meditation on who we used to be while being told in a style that has the feel of a basement knees-up. 

Daniel Kitson: Good for Glue, The Stand (Stand 1), 5-26 Aug (not 17, 24 or 25), £8

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