Chris Henry would be the first person to admit that the words “we need to talk” do not inspire confidence. In fact, if Henry’s experience if anything to go by, the moment the last syllable of the phrase is uttered you should kiss your loved ones goodbye and dash to the nearest nuclear bunker taking only a lifetime supply of milk chocolate. In Henry’s life “we need to talk” has variously preceded being dumped, becoming bankrupt and falling out with his father. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, however, Henry has picked himself up for his first Edinburgh full-run solo show and set about exposing to his audiences the sheer evil of that seemingly innocuous phrase.
Set in the atmospheric, if slightly stuffy, setting of The Free Sister’s yurt, Henry’s routine is an enjoyably schadenfreude-filled romp through his life. He is very much in command of the material with various “we need to talk” moments providing a nice shape to the routine. Particularly fun was his breakneck trot through his failed love life.
He was quick on his feet bantering with the audience even if much of the impromptu material was a little old: the Greeks have no money and the French always surrender- who knew? There were no moments of hysteria although a multi-cultural afterlife mash up was inspired. In the main though this is the sort of comedy which chugs along contentedly.
Derailing this was some off-colour material. Call me a bra-burning, knitted-yoghurt-wearing feminist – no, honestly do, I’d be quite flattered- but I don’t find Rohypnol jokes funny. Add to this a Joseph Fritzl joke and a bad taste comparison of a girlfriend and used car and it left a bitter taste in the mouth. As Henry said at the end of the show “It’s good to talk” and in the main it’s good to listen to an hour of well-crafted highly professional comedy. There’s just the odd subject where maybe it isn’t quite so good to joke.