James Barr: Thirst Trap

James Barr is single. As a young, sexually available gay man, this is clearly a problem – or at least, it's a problem for the sake of his show which is ultimately about the ups and downs of dating. Well, that and an avocado metaphor, in which he's sufficiently invested to wear an avocado costume for the entirety of the show. (No idea how much that sort of outfit costs; he probably hasn't any money left).

Barr has a clear talent when it comes to punchlines.

Although the avocado gag is a good one, there's a slight sense of it being an unnecessary crutch that Barr really doesn't need. He's more than sufficiently charming, witty and funny without it, although inevitably it does add a certain ridiculousness to the supposedly intimate table-for-two when he invites various audience members up on stage "for a date". Such audience participation can, of course, be risky. On the night of this review, the first "date" was in such a bad place following a relationship break up that Barr felt obliged to promise to buy him a drink afterwards.

Nevertheless, it was an excellent example of how well Barr can take control of a situation and mine it for the best comedy he can without stepping across the line in to cruelty. Given all that, though, the most effective of the "dates" on stage followed Barr's decision to try being straight, asking a woman up to his intimate table-for-two (with the added security of a straight guy who's supposedly there to give him suggestions on what to say when the conversation dries up). Let's just say that, unsurprisingly, it's funny but doesn’t exactly work out.

While it's a shame – and potentially ageist – that Barr just automatically ignores any "Daddies" (this reviewer included) when looking for date material among his audience (I'm not bitter, honest!), it's fair to say that his show is bright, cheery and cleverer than you might expect. Hugely original? Pushing envelopes? Arguably not but definitely refreshing and Barr has a clear talent when it comes to punchlines. Just a shame he doesn't ditch the avocado costume sooner.

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Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

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Since you’re here…

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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.
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Performances

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The Blurb

James Barr, as seen asking Justin Bieber about his penis (MTV, host of award-winning comedy podcast A Gay and A NonGay) in a hilarious and increasingly desperate attempt to find a boyfriend. You'll never look at an avocado the same way again. 2019 dating is a disaster. James Tinder-style swipes the audience to meet 'The One'; it could be you! 'Rip-roaringly funny and ridiculously relatable' (Heat). 'A riotous no-holds-barred guide to 21st-century dating as a gay man. Unapologetically honest and brilliantly hilarious, an absolute triumph' (Sun).

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