Henry Paker @ PBH Free Fringe, Banshee Labyrinth
Cartoons and quips as strong as each other from Henry Paker
In a collection of talents that is verging on greedy, Henry Paker is both a stand-up comedian and a cartoonist. in Man Alive he utilises each of these skillsets to great – and complementary – comic effect.
Paker is as adept in each discipline, using the stand-up sections to explore relatable material about marriage and class and the cartooning to tell the more whimsical and absurd love story of a clock enthusiast who lives alone in a forest. Divided neatly between segments of stand-up and sections of comic storytelling told through Paker’s cartoons, the show works up to a heartwarming conclusion when both elements come together.
The material here is clever and earnestly funny, and the combination of disciplines allows Paker to switch between more obvious stand-up punchlines and illustrated jokes which take slightly longer and are ultimately worth the pay-off. While each section is strong enough to stand alone, Paker’s skilled writing sees callbacks and references cut across the two styles, pulling the show together into a narrative that is satisfying and genuinely moving.
Man Alive is a quirky, touching piece of comedy, clever enough to work on a number of levels and which will leave audience members each with a different favourite moment. Nobody can begrudge Paker such a diverse collection of talents when he so generously shares them with us for a delightful Fringe hour.
Henry Paker: Man Alive, PBH Free Fringe, Banshee Labyrinth (Chamber Room), 4-26 Aug (not 6, 13 & 19), 5.10pm, Free
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