Sean Collins review - SkinnyFest 2

Article by R.J. Thomson | 14 Aug 2006
A Canadian, Sean Collins is possessed of a classic North American stand-up style: smart black sweater, stool, microphone, and an unwillingness to get carried away by the audience's enjoyment. At times this measured approach holds Collins back, as when his carefully told stories of personal history do not realise, or anywhere near realise, their full comic potential.

That said, Collins also benefits from being a very controlled comedian: through his easy mastery of the audience-comedian relationship he delivers some truly outstanding moments. He begins by retelling bizarre incidents from his drug-taking years – being on acid at 14 at a family party, witnessing a fellow comedian unexpectedly masturbate during a computer games session – but Collins gets the biggest laughs from his expertly-timed reflection, rather than the 'craziness' of the original situations. "Now," followed by just a second's pause, serves for a killer punchline. So even does absolute silence. Collins is not a physical comedian, but he has an ability to use the spaces between words to his advantage, alongside a genuine emotional investment in his tales. These complimentary qualities would, with a more intensely rendered performance, truly set Collins apart.

[R. J. Thomson]
Sean Collins, Midlife Crisis, Pleasance Courtyard, 20:30, until 28 August, £10.50/£9.50 (£9/£8).