Live Review: Brennan Reece, Soho Theatre, W1

Brennan Reece's second show Everlong confirms that he is a comedian on the rise. In fact it is better than his debut which picked up an Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nomination in 2016. With a third show at the Edinburgh Fringe this August he is definitely a name to watch.

This time round the focus is on his formidable nana, who he seems to have spent a lot of weekends with as a child. Reece was a bit of a softy at school and was bullied, but when his grandmother turned up at the gates the bullies had met their match. This was a woman who could not even be diminished by life-threatening illness.

Reece paints a picture of nana as if she has dropped straight out of a 1960s edition of Coronation Street, all fags, booze and bingo. He has a great running gag about her resembling various different Quality Street chocolates. She may have grown up in a different world but she doted on her grandson, who felt a little displaced elsewhere in his life.

It's a sentimental show, but also very funny and one bursting with great lines. It's a nice coincidence that it is on at Soho at the same time as Sophie Willan. Both Willan and Reece seem to worship Victoria Wood and have that same ear for a winning phrase. On being treated indifferently by someone Reece recalls "she looked at me like a moody barcode." (I hope I've got that right, I was laughing so much my notes are a bit shaky).

Another mark in his favour is his skilful crowdwork, which seems to be becoming a bigger part of his show. It's a way of warming up and winning over the audience. I can imagine it not always working but it worked on dream on this occasion, drawing everyone into his tale. 

This is a particularly well-crafted show with hardly a word wasted. I could maybe have done without the well-trodden trope about porn taking ages to download in the old narrowband days, but that's a small quibble. In fact it's not just the words that make the show, the set - made up of stuff from nana's house - plays a part too. And on leaving Reece is even at the door giving out badges from a Quality Street tin, which is a lovely callback. I'd have preferred a toffee penny myself but apart from that I can't really fault the show. 

Until June 16. Buy tickets here. His new show, Evermore, is at the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh from August 1 - 27. Buy tickets here.

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