Sunday 19 November 2023

Stage: Charmingly transgressive

Connor Burns
Soho Theatre, London • 16-18.Nov.23
UK tour 6.Oct.23-23.Mar.24

Scottish stand-up Connor Burns takes his acclaimed Fringe show on the road, travelling to pretty much every corner of Great Britain (plus a stop in New York), ending up back home in Glasgow in March. His offhanded style of delivery and deliberately edgy material make him thoroughly engaging, especially as he continually apologises for each transgressive gag. Then he says something even more outrageous, which leaves us laughing conspiratorially.

Most of all, Burns is lightning fast, quickly picking up on what's happening in the theatre, and weaving razor-sharp punchlines into each throwaway comment. He delights in skating close to the edge of controversial subjects, mischievously riffing on things like female empowerment, gender identity and Oscar Pistorius, and he miraculously manages to do this without ever losing the audience. He has a gift for accents, and joyfully lampoons a wide range of people, starting with his own Scottish brogue before mercilessly taking on Australia.

What makes this so engaging is that he delivers every jab with expert timing, as if he's having a private chat with us, confiding his politically incorrect opinions, even though we know that he's joking (and he reminds us just to be sure). His jaggedly hilarious comments about shifting genertional attitudes, as a Millennial looking at Baby Boomers and Gen Z, are wonderfully observed to add unexpected depth to the material. And through all of this, his cheeky, knowing smile is utterly charming, undercutting our ability to be offended by even his rudest material. This is a rare gift, so we can only hope that Burns never gives into pressure to tone things down.

For information, visit CONNOR BURNS >
photos by Melody Joy • 18.Nov.23

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