Si Beckworth. Alphabetti. 7.6.19

One of the principle aims of the very best comedians, rather than those who talk about Waitrose for an hour, 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.  Bono took some stick for it a few years ago but he did have a point when he talked about how a great comic can also be a great teacher; not by instructing someone about what to think, but rather by exposing themselves and allowing others to see the humour in themselves.

Tonight’s show, two stand-alone performances, but really a joint lecture on the same topic by Neil Harris and local up and comer Si Beckworth, roots itself in a style of comedy which sees both acts expose themselves fully to the audience.  Hard hitting at times, but delivered with silliness and in a deadpan manner, their shows work because we can relate to their stories.  Theirs is not surreal comedy, or tales with obvious punchlines, theirs is about taking real-life challenges and finding the humour within them.

Kicking us off with introspective tales of personal challenges (including partial deafness, social anxiety and depression) from Harris, and furthered by brave discussions from Beckworth about the difficulties of holding ourselves to account, and being the best version of ourselves possible, tonight’s show at the Alphabetti is both humorous and reflective.  We leave asking questions like ‘what do we look like when we are at our best’?  And ‘how can we discipline ourselves to do the right things every day’? 

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

Edited Version

One of the principle aims of the very best comedians, rather than those who talk about Waitrose for an hour, 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, two stand-alone performances, but really a joint lecture on the same topic by Neil Harris and local up and comer Si Beckworth, roots itself in a style of comedy which sees both acts expose themselves fully to the audience.  

Kicking us off with introspective tales of personal challenges (including partial deafness, social anxiety and depression) Harris takes us on a twenty-minute 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 humourous 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 out from a warm up to a full-length delivery.

Which is, of course, what Si Beckworth has been doing on the local scene for some time now 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 see’s Beckworth 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, Beckworth’s set works because his stories are, mostly, relatable. Delivered sensitively, and making fun of no-one but themselves, both Harris and Beckworth’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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