Most stand-ups with a day job give the impression that it’s merely paying the bills. But teaching assistant Jamie Oliphant takes his responsibilities, if not himself, seriously, with this debut hour from the likeable anecdotalist a dispatch from the classroom.
Jamie Oliphant: The Oliphant in the Room, Just The Tonic @ The Tron, Edinburgh * * *
Often, it’s just straightforwardly amusing tales – kids saying the funniest, most precocious, scariest things.
Oliphant is not an obvious authority figure and in an era of social media; his charges’ popularity and following easily eclipse his modest achievements as a performer.
Children, and indeed their parents, are a bellwether for the way society is headed. And he offers intriguing insights into the future, with well-meaning, progressive educational strategies disabused by the realities of toiling at the chalkface.
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With self-awareness, attuned observation and gentle wit, he also contrasts his own formative development, questioning the decisions he’s made. He once again becomes the student when he’s compelled to take a speed awareness course, marvelling at the childish intransigence of his fellow law-breakers. Then an unrelated accident brings his life into sharper focus. Instinctively self-mocking, he’s nevertheless respectful, invested and curious about even his most troublesome wards.
Until 25 August