Comedy review: Daniel Kitson: After The Beginning, Before The End Theatre Royal Brighton Festival
Daniel Kitson’s new show is a reflection on reality, memory and our sense of self. Hardly wall-to-wall giggles, you might think, but this publicity-shy, TV-shunning, Perrier Award-winning comic’s talent lies in burrowing into the human psyche and dispensing profound nuggets through tales in which, more often than not, he is the hapless protagonist. After The Beginning, Before The End is like a TED talk with added LOLs.
It’s all triggered by a single memory. This memory is in fact someone else’s but Kitson – these days shaven-headed and with the voluminous beard neatly trimmed - has a starring role and he’s unsettled since it doesn’t exactly cast him in a good light. So, sitting centre-stage in front of a miniature mixing desk through which he adjusts discreet but ever-present background music, he breaks down the concept of memory as if he is merely thinking out loud. Though, of course, this relaxed spontaneity is rigorously planned.
Right from the start Kitson is the centre of the narrative. At 35 and single, worries that his absence of daily routine and compulsive Googling of himself (hi Daniel!) is “indicative of a failing life.... Where my neighbours have children, I have a pool table. The difference is you can’t get off with someone up against a child.”
While he stops short of asking for our pity, he sees his dysfunction as comparable to “early-season Chandler.” It’s with a seemingly genuine sense of bewilderment that he talks of an ongoing battle between his conscious and sub-conscious minds, and frets incessantly about subtext that, he says darkly, is “like a Kinder Surprise but there’s no chocolate and the only toy is truth.”
And yet, despite the flashes of self-loathing, Kitson is a supremely charismatic host, an astute social commentator and a master craftsman of elaborate sentences that unfold neatly like origami. Rewind some of his proclamations and they veer close to the poetic (“hope is a life kept full of gaps, just in case”), while others paint unexpected pictures, such as his description of his romantic self as “a wrecking ball with a semi-erect penis."
But it’s the pathos and the humanity at the heart of his musings that stay with you. Kitson, the modern-day philosopher, will tell you there’s no such thing as truth, just one person’s version of it. His version will do just fine.
To 26th June; danielkitson.com
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
- 2 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 3 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
A Very British Brothel, Channel 4 - TV Review: These insights into people who buy and sell sex are particularly relevant
Cilla Black: Her 12 best songs, from 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' to 'You're My World'
Michael B Jordan and Kate Mara handle excruciatingly awkward and offensive interview questions like pros
Game of Thrones season 6: 'A Song of Ice and Fire should be finished by 1998,' said George R. R. Martin, 'but don't hold your breath'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality