This was the first night of Kitson’s Edinburgh 2014 show in it’s current incarnation. For the second half of his run at the Stand the 2002 Perrier winner is aided by seasoned pros Andy Zaltzman and Alun Cochrane – he says everybody else stopped taking his calls, and for much of the two hour show you can well believe him. Kitson presides over a chaotic and spontaneous show, and he always gets the last, cutting word over his two often bewildered stooges.
They are good sports in the middle of the aptly-named fuckstorm and raise their fair share of laughs, chipping in where and when they have something, or to articulate what much of the crowd is surely often thinking – what’s happening?
Having seen him deliver carefully considered pathos-laden shows the last couple of times I’ve seen him (you would have to be super-dedicated to be a Kitson regular) it was glorious to see him ad-lib and flex his mighty stand up muscles in this sort of context. Ultra confident in his own chops, he allows things to just develop as they may, saving the day every time it seems we might be heading down a cul-de-sac.
Each comic chips in with some tester material to break up the show. Zaltzman’s brand of pre-prepared and wordy satire is in many ways at odds with this sort of occasion. Although I enjoy it very much, the energy sometimes drops with his contributions. Alun Cochrane’s charm sees him through some sometimes painful punning. But both are as quick as anybody off the cuff, and as the show develops the three of them find their feet in a dynamic that threatens to, but never quite sparkles.
What really shines through is how accessible Kitson can be when he feels like it, and how he can hold a crowd in the palm of his hand without breaking sweat. The longest show I’ve seen at the Fringe so far (and one that started after midnight) the attitude seemed to be ‘let’s just turn up and see what happens’. I think I finally get why Kitson can do whatever he likes and draw a crowd.