Henry Paker at Brighton Komedia - Review

Henry Paker is that most rare of beasts - a lesser-spotted, charming, cerebral, but fun stand-up.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 3:36 pm
Henry Paker Photos by Idil Sukan

Man Alive, his well-received and thoughtful show (at the Komeda on Friday November 8) saw the former illustrator and animator bring to life a number of similarly exceptional creatures in cartoon form, alongside a welter of intelligent but playful material.

Early in the proceedings he showed some of his contributions to the world of corporate advertising and branding, where the Grim Reaper made an unexpected appearance in the Travelodge logo and Ikea products received an unexpected slice of realism

And throughout the performance there was an episodic piece of slightly bonkers cartoon animation, which featured the aforementioned bizarre beasties, including the majestic Uni-weasel and Buff Wolf, who rubbed shoulders with two cog-crossed lovers in a tale of clock-obsesssion and letting go of selfish solitary behaviour.

There was more of the same sentiment with some nice observational stuff about the drudgery of marriage, including being subjugated by drinks coasters, the ghastly tedium of having to put up with a partner’s work anecdotes, and the tension caused by the heinous domestic crime of scraping a non-stick frying pan.

There was also some rather ace material about the burden of being middle class (“We don’t like pleasure”) and being duty-bound to choose theatre over the cinema, obscure holiday destinations over popular places, and dark chocolate over milk chocolate (“Dark chocolate is like heroin to the middle classes”).

But as an antidote to what seems like millennia of anti-spouse material he later extolled his love for his wife and admitted has seen some good plays.

The show frothed and fizzed with ideas like a posh cocktail, and at times was just as much fun.

A well-crafted hour or so of original comedy from a smart comic who deserves a bigger profile.

By Steve Holloway