Dan Atkinson Knows That He Knows Nothing

...or does he?

Review by Yasmin Sulaiman | 05 Aug 2007

The title of Dan Atkinson’s show claims that he knows "nothing", but the entire premise of his routine appears to revolve around showing the audience exactly how much he does know. His sprawling ramblings begin as soon as his dishevelled form takes the stage, spanning from the Greek origins of comedy to various anecdotes about defecation and phalluses – or as one audience member, who was having some trouble following, put it: "shit and willies".

Despite the incongruity that this might signify, Atkinson’s seemingly aimless collection of observations hangs together well enough, resulting in a relatively hitch-free performance. But while his set is punctuated with some clever one-liners, they are delivered so subtly that they soar over most heads and get lost in the general atmosphere of nonchalance that seems to descend upon the tiny venue round the half-way mark.

And moreover, Atkinson’s comedy lacks a certain venom, although it’s early days yet and, as he cheekily reminds the crowd at this particular preview, he hasn't even paid full price. Then again, this isn’t ‘current affairs comedy’ – nor does it pretend to be. As a result, it’s blissfully free of the Big Brother gags, flood jokes, and John Smeaton impressions, with which many Fringe comedians will surely litter the streets over the coming weeks, even though Atkinson’s vague and noncommittal demeanour means it won’t be the most memorable show you’ll see this year.