Chris Stokes had a very bad 2014, and on reflection he dealt with it badly. It’s the reason the Fringe regular didn’t make it to Edinburgh last year, but thankfully it’s also the reason he’s back with this new show, a slice of very funny, well crafted stand-up comedy.
He’s a self-declared introvert by nature and some of the strongest material comes as Stokes reveals a range of occasions when he has found himself spurred into conflict with others.
Stokes has a confident, easy style and he quickly builds rapport with the audience by telling a story about a previous Fringe show he did in the very same room he’s in this August. From there he moves onto the substance of the set, recounting a painful divorce and the ensuing crisis in identity which propelled him from stand-up comic to full-time van driver.
Deeply personal comedy can tend towards the excruciating but a smile is never far from Stokes’ face, taking the sting out of some potentially painful stuff. What we get instead is a selection of stories and self-examination with riffs on subjects ranging from veganism to inter-age conflict, all underlined by a running theme of social awkwardness.
He’s a self-declared introvert by nature and some of the strongest material comes as Stokes reveals a range of occasions when he has found himself spurred into conflict with others. His sharp wit and clever observations form a body of material which is funny, intelligent and wonderfully self-aware.
Stokes is an engaging storyteller and his punchlines, though sometimes well telegraphed, rarely miss the mark. He brings a steady flow of laughs, and enough substance to give you something to think about after leaving the room.
During the show Stokes presents the modest boast that he is a good van driver. On the strength of his performance he can rest assured that he is also a very good stand-up comedian and well worth the price of a ticket.