Patrick Turpin cuts a vulnerable figure on stage, baring his soul (and, without giving too much away, his nipples) to the world in his debut hour that delves into childhood memories and insecurities.
Turpin is an engaging storyteller and the truthfulness behind A Brother for Jonathan is sharply funny and constantly laugh out loud.
Through a slide show of family photographs, we are taken through a life story, shaping the comic that we see in front of us. We learn about Turpin's schoolyard bullies, his self-consciousness about what he describes as "burger nips" as told through a hilarious segment using photoshopped images of mountainous nipples topped with snow. We see him choosing different snapshot poses through each stage of his life - the show is about learning to show off and be in the limelight as much as anything and you can see a clear progression from the boy in the photographs to the boy on stage. Turpin never strays into an over reliance on the projector - the photographs are visual aids only and are beautifully worked into the verbal narrative. A long section at the end of the show, in which he reads a letter written by a family friend to document the day he was born, is moving and we are invited into a deeply personal narrative.
But it's not all a trip down rose tinted memory lane. Turpin finishes the show by announcing, with a startling level of honesty, that the show is really just an excuse to get on stage and talk about his penis. At least Turpin is self-aware of it, as this rule could apply to a few comedians I can think of. The open admission is strangely endearing - a crass way of summarising what has been a sweetly engaging story - a defence mechanism against over sentimentality. Turpin knows when to pull back from family stories and bring the attention back to the performer on stage - a young man vying for attention, shouting bold statements about his own bodily organs. The juxtaposition between the two halves of the narrative is where the show really comes into it's own. In a completely eye wateringly hilarious section, Turpin reads a portion of a letter describing how when he was born they were unsure if he was a girl or a boy. What follows on stage is a minute long silence - building tension in the room expertly and using subtle physical humour to create a truly impressive joke.
Although his slightly awkward stage presence indicates that he is still finding his feet as a performer, Turpin is an engaging storyteller and the truthfulness behind A Brother for Jonathan is sharply funny and constantly laugh out loud.