It has been four years since Steve Hall last appeared at the Fringe. In that time he has happily settled into married life and had a daughter, Poppy, who is now 13 months old and, Steve is keen to emphasise, very well mannered for a baby.
Zebra is a solid show which is especially recommendable to anyone with experiences of looking after small children.
The entire show has a very personal feel to it as Steve recounts a mix of humorous tales from his childhood, and from his experiences as a father. His stories are as funny as they are relatable, entirely endearing Steve to his audience. Nicely intermingled with his recollections of family life are entertaining references to his past adventures as a blackout drunk student, and tales of awkward interactions with audience members during his time spent supporting Russell Howard on tour. Steve has some particularly insightful comments on One Direction’s song lyrics as he explores the difficulties of trying to raise a daughter with healthy self-esteem in today’s society.
Steve is a confident yet self-deprecating performer, which can be a little off-putting as this approach renders some of his stories lacklustre, though the material is in itself very good, and, at times, roaringly funny. The show makes use of large canvas pictures, which are presented on an easel at specific times during the performance to better illustrate some of his tales. These visual aids, given their size, were a little awkward to move, but the collection of images were well selected and, for the most part, hilariously interwoven with the narrative.
Zebra is a solid show which is especially recommendable to anyone with experiences of looking after small children. Steve manages to maintain a strong connection with his audience throughout the show, though some of his interactions with them tend to fall a little flat, as his strength as a performer, he admits, lies more with storytelling than in quick one-liners.