Once he gets going, Nathan Caton's anecdotes and stories are funny, clever and a pleasure to listen to. But it takes him a hell of a long time to stop the preamble and start the show.
His material's nicely crafted and well-structured. He darts off on tangents and then nimbly doubles back to the satisfying main event.
The easygoing stand-up does the whole 'banter with punters in the front row’ thing, trotting out what must be the most frequently asked questions in spotlit rooms across the city just now – 'where are you from, and what do you do?’ The kindly soul even gives a few people with their own Fringe productions the chance to plug their offerings.
But as this mildly entertaining back-and-forth drags on, you start to wonder if his pre-prepared jokes are ever going to put in an appearance. Eventually they do and, thankfully, they're worth the wait.
The set’s loose themes are race, boundaries and embracing diversity, which take Caton into the contentious realm of political correctness. But there’s no lecturing.
Instead he’s cautioning against oversensitivity, and advocating a pragmatic approach which acknowledges that sometimes what we say is misinterpreted, and we’re only human so sometimes we get it wrong. This leads to him coming up with some inspired alternatives for names of religious festivals, and a spot-on routine about one man’s bizarre justification for liberally sprinkling his speech with the n-word.
A Christian himself, Caton also tackles religion. And, using his reverend as an example, deftly busts stereotypes which characterise God-fearing folk as humourless and homophobic.
Apart from an unfocused rant about the 5p charge for carrier bags which culminates in a weak gag that doesn’t land, his material's nicely crafted and well-structured. He darts off on tangents and then nimbly doubles back to the satisfying main event.
This is an enjoyable hour, and Caton is a skilled and instantly likeable comic. He just needs to go easy on the audience interaction.