Bland comedy which does less to celebrate awkwardness than to induce it in the audience.
Carrington divides his performance into three segments of “awkwardity”- Family, Work and Dating. Each, predictably, consists of anecdotes of Carrington or someone he knows in various poses of social distress. From the start, this format comes across as both dated and peculiarly forced. Instead of a coherent comedy set, the show feels like a collection of bric-a-brac swept from Carrington’s mental mantelpiece and presented unedited to the public. The transitions between anecdotes are jarring, the transitions between segments even more so. The audience members are less taken for a ride than they are sat, eyelids pinned back and arms restrained, in front of a succession of incoherent images. Despite a half-hearted effort at circular narrative at the end, the format is utterly devoid of the subtlety which characterises engaging comedy.
Which would have been fine, if the material was funny. However, Carrington substantially fails here too. There are moments of humour, including a portrayal of the difficulties of deciding whether one kiss or two are an appropriate greeting in a given situation, but these are the exception rather than the rule. This is largely due to a lack of innovation with the well-explored theme of awkwardness. The audience expects to be told of awkward situations, the audience is told of awkward situations. Blandness ensues. Whilst many of the anecdotes seem to have a latent potential for humour, as with a woman found tied up in the boot of a car by a police officer during a particularly daring sexual encounter, Carrington fails to tease that potential out. Nor were his interactions with the audience much better; in a particularly bewildering turn, a woman blowing her nose was scolded at some length. It was, fittingly enough, excruciatingly awkward.
Carrington is, undoubtedly, an energetic performer. He fills up the stage and is not intimidated by how intimate his venue is. Even towards the end of what was a difficult set, he continued to perform with admirable enthusiasm. This enthusiasm, however, does not translate into quality of delivery. He stumbles over key punchlines and seems to lose track in some of his anecdotes. Even better jokes therefore struggle to elicit much of a reaction.
This is bland comedy which does less to celebrate awkwardness than to induce it in the audience.