Mark Nelson: Please Think Responsibly @ Gilded Balloon
If you're looking for an hour of no-nonsense stand-up, on universal themes of increasing responsibilities and the tugs of ageing, all delivered in an easygoing manner and perfectly paced style, then you couldn't do better than Mark Nelson's show.
It's on the blokey side, but not exclusively so. When his punchlines rely on a slight coarseness, behind them seems to be a cheeky boy (rather than a 'lad') that has now grown into the mature comedian. He's adept at rowing back from the low-brow too, checking that the audience is comfortable – he's very attentive to the audience.
Nelson is more down-to-earth and sensitive than his caricature of the male of the species. As much as his marriage and recent fatherhood have offered him the main source of material for this show, he's clearly proud of his daughter's fighting spirit when it comes to her refusal to be dressed.
His autobiographical material does seem close to the bone and at 33 he has perhaps just experienced the weariness that accompanies new parenthood. As competent and accomplished as Nelson is, he perhaps hasn't quite found the subject matters that would propel a sound show into a superb one.
However, the material here isn't lacking and it's nice to see stand-up without fuss, without gimmicks, and down to the bare bones. An impressive hour from a comedic craftsman.