Paul Sinha @ The Stand

One man in his time plays many parts

Review by Ben Venables | 23 Aug 2018
  • Paul Sinha

Paul Sinha has revised Shakespeare's seven ages of man speech – like some modern instance of Charles and Mary Lamb – and digested it down to its fundamentals. But though Sinha can explain in two what took Shakespeare seven, he gives a panoramic view of a life's impressionable and pivotal moments. We learn of a time when he wasn't much older than a satchel-carrying schoolboy, following family tradition into medicine, facing his first undergraduate exams. A young man whose eyes are opened to adult reality with a prospective lover. Then, we are led to more recent times with Sinha soldiering on, the strange oaths to do no harm a memory that he seems not to apply when it comes to himself. Perhaps doctors really do make the worst patients.

With his reputation a precarious bubble frothed from minor daytime celebrity, Sinha attracts judgment: judgement from tabloids searching for gossip or from a local paper on a pantomime performance. And he seems a lean and slippered pantaloon as he recounts his time in that pantomime. He brings depth to eventful family histories, which take in generational shifts between father and son, and for a grandfather who seemed deaf to his grandson's voice until it becomes a deafening treble.

It'd be easy to underestimate what Sinha can achieve in a comedy hour, for it isn't only that he keeps the stories ticking from one time to another but it's also the control, rhythm and pacing of his jokes. He certainly has all seven ages of man in the crowd (a consequence of his popularity across different formats). And, with a professional courtesy sometimes lacking in more self-indulgent types, he demonstrates that humour is as universal to us all as ageing, ensuring there's no-one here who is ever without a laugh.

Paul Sinha: The Two Ages of Man, The Stand Comedy Club, until 26 Aug, 4:55pm, £12

Scroll on to read more of The Skinny's 2018 Edinburgh Fringe comedy reviews; click here for a round-up of all the best reviews from this year's comedy and theatre programmes