Gosh it’s hard to be 23 these days. Not only are the kids coping with economic uncertainty and environmental meltdown, but there is pretty much an epidemic of mental illness.
Ed Night: Jokes of Love and Hate, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh * * * *
It’s Ed Night’s turn to get dark this year and he does a pretty good job of taking us inside his skin and he is not scared of shining a light into the scarier corners of his life.
A comedian with a razor- sharp understanding of how to craft a joke, he is also deeply aware of his roots – from the Irish rebel blood that runs through his veins to the street smarts that come from living in his part of South London. His sex life is pretty grim – for reasons he illustrates in distressingly graphic detail. And he’s living in a world where gender and sexuality are more fluid than ever.
It might sound like a relentlessly depressing hour – but what lifts the spirits is Night’s determination to be a decent person despite all this. He’s moral, upright and immensely thoughtful, with an astonishingly clear perspective on historical and political context.
Don’t let the Sarf London drawl fool you – Night is also very precise in the way he creates a picture, sets the atmosphere, draws you in and then flicks an unexpected twist. He’s on stage in overwashed black denim and a tee-shirt but he speaks for all the world as if he’s wearing a suit. Politicians, famous comics, sexually voracious young women – no-one is sacred in his world and Night is also more than happy to make himself the butt of a joke.
I just hope there’s a little bit more light and joy in his life in his future. As far as comedy goes, he’s pretty much cracked it already.
Until 25 August