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Chris Stokes – Edinburgh Festival review

Sunday, August 05 2012

Lightweight but highly promising, that's EiF's verdict on Chris Stokes ...

Chris Stokes

More to come from the boy Stokes, for sure. This was an hour that did suffer from the dreaded "dip", which is hardly surprising of a newer comedian, but he demonstrated enough comedy chops and likability that I look forward to seeing his act grow in strength.

He's a gentle, slight man and his comedy follows suit. We hear a lot about his geekery – a common theme among younger comedians – but even that is worn lightly. He's a Doctor Who fanatic and has a favourite Columbo episode (season 3, episode 8). He's bang into recycling. This is all very endearing and the warmth he creates between comic and audience makes for a wonderfully intimate atmosphere from which great comedy can sprout.

His comedy isn't what you'd call great yet but his understatement and storytelling does result in some lovely comic cadences, such as his opening story about a TV license inspector and Raul Moat (believe it or not). His closer is also a wonderfully weaved tale of how he received hate mail (or the internet version) from people who mistook him for another Chris Stokes who was revealed as a child molester.

Inbetween times things were a little lightweight and a little more punch, perhaps the odd surprise element, in some of his routines would go a long way – hopefully his Milton Jones support slot has taught him a few things. His relationship with his uber-alpha uncle was explored but wasn't a particularly worthwhile endeavour, and his story about an old school friend who was on the Apprentice felt like a wasted opportunity.

Stokes is refreshingly genuine – his embarrassment and shock in retelling his stories seems absolutely sincere and he tells them with the sort of security and lack of desperation for attention that many other comics would benefit from.

Take the frenetic energy out of Mark Watson and you roughly get a Chris Stokes, which is a very attractive proposition indeed.

3.5 stars

Chris Stokes – An Opera Written On A Napkin is on at the Pleasance Courtyard at 5.45pm


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