• By Isla VT
  • |
  • 12th Aug 2013
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Bo’s back. And he’s better than ever. Fast-paced, shocking, ingenious and hilarious, Bo Burnham’s show, What, lets you glimpse every inch of Bo’s extensive talent as a comedian and a performer. More polished, more varied and more daring than we’ve seen him before, Burnham utilises poetry, subversive observational comedy, physical comedy, recorded tracks and of course his famous live song performances to create a show with intelligence and creativity, and perpetual hilarity.

Burnham has managed to fuse the musical, the theatrical and the comedic into an experience that has you constantly surprised and entertained. Many parts of the show could easily be described as sketches, for example the song about the discord between his left side brain and right side brain is announced by a recorded sci-fi-like track which sets up the song and concludes it - like a complete scene. Equally his onstage persona, broken only occasionally to wish sincere and humble thanks to the audience, is incredibly well-acted and enthralling - self-deprecating, arrogant, aggressive, camp, charming, nervous, swaggering, dark and intelligent, there is never a dull moment.

This is certainly Burnham’s most elaborate show to date. Impressive lighting and recorded tracks a-plenty are used with dexterity and ingenuity, without falling into the trap of being gimmicky or overused. In addition, Burnham refuses to play it safe by relying on re-used material or overemployment of his YouTube classics (though a portion of the familiar remains) but instead reaches far and wide for his content, from pop culture to his personal life to fantastical stories, whilst keeping a sense of flow and continuity. But never fear- whilst the material and style may be increasingly experimental, the hallmarks of a great Bo Burnham performance remain: sparklingly inventive lyricism, extensive vocabulary and masterful wordplay, catchy and subversive songs and a dark, razor-sharp intellect.

Bo Burnham’s What is a show carefully crafted without a superfluous moment, every second has purpose and entertainment pulsating in it, and the result is utterly captivating, laugh-a-minute magic. Do whatever you can to get a ticket, it is absolutely unmissable.

Reviews by Isla VT

Assembly Roxy

Calypso Nights

★★★★★
Just The Tonic at the Caves

Shooting the White Eagle

★★★★
C venues - C nova

We Never Land

★★★★
Greenside @ Nicolson Square

Unprescribed

★★★★
C venues - C nova

The Devil Without

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Following the 2010 total sell-out; Words, Words, Words, comedy sensation Bo Burnham is back for a strictly limited run with his brand new show What. The recipient of the Edinburgh Panel Prize, a Malcolm Hardee Award and unprecedented rave reviews, Bo’s YouTube videos have been watched by millions of worldwide fans. This year he created his first comedy series - Zach Stone is Gonna be Famous - for MTV. ‘Find yourself punchdrunk on it’s brilliance’ ***** (Guardian). ‘Enduring words and images you’ll want to treasure' ***** (Independent). ‘Fierce intelligence and originality’ ***** (Time Out). ‘Exquisite’ ***** (Chortle.co.uk).

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets