Darren Harriott @ Pleasance Courtyard
A well-crafted hour which packs an emotional punch
Darren Harriott is well-placed to explore the pertinent subject of masculinity: from time spent in adolescent gangs to his job as a nightclub bouncer and his father’s suicide in prison, his backstory is rich in raw material. In this impressive sophomore hour, Harriott draws on it all to combine the personal and political in a brave narrative which is as strong on analysis as it is jokes.
Harriott’s delivery is warm and engaging, and he moves between light and shade with ease. A well-paced and structured set gifts him mastery over the room, building tension and releasing it as he works towards an emotional conclusion. On this occasion, he is even interrupted at a crucial moment by an audience member but manages to recapture the momentum immediately, a testament to his skill as a performer.
Underpinning this wider narrative are, crucially, strong jokes and excellent observations. Harriott cycles between relatable and niche, discussing iron-on brands and Kanye West one minute and trans-exclusionary radical feminists and cultural appropriation the next, but the audience are with him every step of the way. Visceral is a funny and insightful hour from an impressive comedian with lots to say and a knack for saying it well.
Darren Harriott: Visceral, Pleasance Courtyard (Beneath), 1-26 Aug (not 15), 9:30pm, £6-10
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