COMEDY REVIEW: Si Beckwith, Neil Harris @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle (07.06.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Si Beckwith

One of the principle aims of the very best comedians is the brave trick of using themselves as a vehicle through which an audience can self-reflect. By being open and exposing their own flaws, a great comic is able to nudge their audiences into appraising their own life and seeing the similarities between their lives and someone else’s.

Tonight’s show takes the form of two stand-alone performances but it’s really a joint lecture on the same topic by Neil Harris and Si Beckwith, and roots itself in a style of comedy which sees both acts expose themselves fully to the audience.  

Kicking off with introspective tales of personal challenges (including partial deafness, social anxiety and depression) Neil Harris takes us on a tour of the day to day behaviours needed to function with disabling personal issues. Conversations about stroking driving teachers’ legs, being unable to hear the doctor at a hearing centre, and drinking too much beer are all humorous examinations of some of our real-world challenges. Humble, slightly shy and very charming, it’ll be interesting to see how Harris starts building his set from a warm-up to a full-length delivery.

Which is, of course, what Si Beckwith has been doing on the local scene for some time, and now looks insanely comfortable delivering a headline set. Focused on the difficulties we face when holding ourselves to account, and trying to be the best version of ourselves possible, tonight’s show sees Beckwith in both humorous and reflective mood as he takes us across stories of drug taking on first dates, defining what ‘lush’ means in today’s culture and questioning why we all don’t think about our mental health as much as maybe we should. Hard hitting at times, but delivered with silliness and in a deadpan manner, Beckwith’s set works because his stories are, mostly, relatable. 

Delivered sensitively, and making fun of no-one but themselves, both Harris and Beckwith’s sets are interesting examples of how listening to someone else’s stories, especially those laced with comic delivery, can make a positive difference. Great stuff.

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