The phrase ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ is one your parents will most certainly have quoted at you at some point - no doubt when it seemed a particularly unhelpful and unsympathetic moment to do so. However, Chris Stokes seems to have fully embraced this notion, making not only lemonade but a whole stand-up routine out of the less fortunate moments of his life.
A self-proclaimed nerd, Stokes takes the audience through recollections of bullying, an inability to fight the urge to use the phrase ‘I think you’ll find’ and the difficulties of having a blokey uncle to whom he is a constant disappointment. It is self-deprecating, largely clean humour that plays on awkwardness and our penchant for laughing at others’ misfortunes; and it works. Stokes uses a good mixture of long, layered narratives and quick one liners to keep the audience laughing for the hour and his relatively low ticket price makes this a good value for money show.
An improvement could be made by cutting some references to his inability to connect with others. Much of the routine hinges on this idea but after the first ten minutes it is already well established with the audience and this should relieve him of the need to keep revisiting it; after a while it is no longer self-deprecating, it’s just irritating.
Generally this is a good, value for money show that kept the audience laughing and marks Stokes as one to look out for in years to come.