Chris Turner: Observational Tragedy

You’d be forgiven for thinking Chris Turner is insane. I’m not 100% convinced he isn’t myself, but if he is insane, he’s at least insane in a way that lets him do funny jokes and well impressive freestyle raps, so it’s fine.

As we enter there’s post-its distributed across the stage curtains, and a friendly message asking us to write down some information on the ones we were given at the door, to add to the collection. Turner quickly puts the post-its to pretty astounding use, showcasing an uncanny ability to freestyle truly on the fly. It’s one of the most impressive, singular skills you could see at the Fringe, with Turner rapping eloquently about a selection of completely random topics.

After this it’s difficult to not feel slightly underwhelmed by the middle section, which is by no means poor, just noticeably weaker than the ostentatious start. Turner is honest to a fault, and while I found the more ‘traditional stand-up’ in the middle both funny and actually very sweet, it veered into being too sugary for me a few times. Turner is obviously a very nice dude, an endearingly peculiar figure who certainly won over the cynic in me despite it.

There’s a wealth of intelligent humour throughout, and Turner manages to test the theory that it’s not funny if you explain it, eliciting some of the best laughs while he’s at it. Along with this is inventive integration of projection for some excellent visual gags. Peppered throughout are some embarrassing, but charming, family photos that play into the vein of startling vulnerability running throughout.

Without giving too much away, Observational Tragedy bookends itself with a finish as gargantuan as the opening. It also sees the conclusion of several excellent running gags that tie things off neatly.  An absorbing snapshot of a truly unique mind, and a chance to see that mind at work. Sickly sweet at times, but endearing, funny, and genuinely singular more often.

★★★★ and a half

Keiran Burnett

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