Reginald D. Hunter is going to have a great Edinburgh show. We know this because he’s already ironed out all the kinks in his performance at the Great Yorkshire Fringe.
When Hunter is on form, he’s sublime. Talking about his favourite subjects; Americans; Race; Relationships and Sex, he’s on fire.
Yes, I know everyone heading north this August will be previewing their shows, but isn’t that better in a room above a pub rather than York’s largest Fringe space in front of an absolutely packed crowd?
When Hunter is on form, he’s sublime. Talking about his favourite subjects; Americans; Race; Relationships and Sex, he’s on fire. Going off piste into new areas he looks unsure, admitting more than once that things will be cut before Edinburgh.
Hunter steers clear of ad libs, save for efficiently smacking down a heckler and some show-of-hands questioning of the audience. He’s a comic storyteller with a rich molasses voice who finds the funny in his southern states roots, but admits he’s now an anglophile as America just depresses him. He tells us about the heat he’s had from the press because of the things he’s discussed in previous shows. He’s notorious for dropping the N-bomb into the titles of his shows and had a run-in with the Jewish community after some mis-reporting of his material in a gig he did for the Professional Football Association.
We jump around topics such as politics, Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods, Ant & Dec, Houdini and Angela Merkel. Some of this is less successful, so the pacing and energy fluctuates a fair bit leaving a long wait for the next laugh. When Hunter finds himself in a comic cul-de-sac, he shrugs it off and jumps to an entirely different theme. Props for jettisoning a spot before it festers, but it can leave the overall performance a little disjointed.
So yes, comedians regularly do previews of their Edinburgh shows, but if your tickets are over a fiver more expensive than your Edinburgh show and you’ve sold out enough to add another, you kind of owe it to your audience to give them a proper performance.