After the Beginning, Before the End
The Corn Exchange Newbury
The idea for Daniel Kitson’s new show After the Beginning, Before the End had apparently been eluding him for months and although having booked the tour and arranged previews he was no further forward until he had dropped his father off at the train station.
On his way home from East London to South London the idea hit him. He says, “you have to trust me, two hours ago I didn’t have an idea, now I do and it’s going to be good.” And indeed it is, in fact exceedingly good.
Kitson is a consummate storyteller, a wonderful wordsmith and a very funny stand up comedian who took the Edinburgh Fringe by storm when he won the 2002 Perrier Comedy award and has been a regular and popular performer ever since with sell out shows.
His themes in his new show explore memory and our perceptions of who we are and what is life all about, certainly profound subjects but given Kitson’s splendid observational humour is spot on.
He is a charismatic eccentric performer ambling onto the stage carrying a mug of tea and sitting in front of a small table with a small mixing desk that produces a bizarre soundscape that underscores his monologue with a recurring recording of a memory about a girl he meets in a hotel that is only finally deconstructed at the end.
But memories are subjective; we learn about Kitson’s daily routine or rather the fact the he has no daily routine, his dog, his pool table, the fact the he continually Googles himself and his ex-girlfriend.
He recounts his unsettling, early dirty dreams aged 10, his hilarious visit to the British Museum and a diatribe about what is considered as “groceries”.
He worries about still being single at 35, talks about the physical attractions of women, love, relationships and commitment and reveals that “parsnips are tastier than his granny gave them credit for”.
This was Kitson at his sharpest, perceptive, questioning best. He ended with a meaningful statement, “I once told a story about myself and I didn’t recognise myself.”
Tours throughout UK until July.
Reviewer: Robin Strapp