Tony Basnett @ Just the Tonic, The Caves

Tony Basnett turns a disaster-filled year into something naturally funny

Review by James Gladdis | 15 Aug 2019
  • Tony Basnett

Everyone has one of those years. The one they dub the worst in their life... well, to date. Lost their job, lost their partner, lost their flat. Relatable material, but oft-trod. Luckily, Tony Basnett’s funny enough to get away with it.

Basnett’s talents lie in his engagement with his audience. The first quarter of the show consists entirely of what he calls “preamble”, but is actually a conversation with each and every audience member. Basnett has a natural talent for improvisation, and the remainder of the show is all the more engaging thanks to Basnett’s effort to make himself feel like an old friend rather than a performer.

What detracts from 28 – and often threatens to derail the show entirely – is Basnett’s use of audio cues and song snippets. Early on it’s entertaining to see Basnett mention the last year only to be interrupted by a song from Rent, but to have it happen every five minutes eventually becomes grating and elicits zero laughs. Overall, 28 proves to be a solid hour of stand-up which offers new perspectives on otherwise hack material.

Tony Basnett: 28Just the Tonic at The Caves (Just the Spare Room), until 25 Aug, 8.55pm, £5/PWYW