You tend to give a little bit of leeway to debut hours- often you find a performer in the process of finding their voice, trying something new and longform for the first time, and it can be a bit shaky. That is certainly not the case with Hari Sriskantha’s Fringe debut ‘Cloud Atlas’.
Sriskantha is confident and assured, and the material has the polish of someone who has been producing hours for far longer than is the case here. Primarily an hour of storytelling, with some very clever narrative devices that I don’t want to give away here, about his wedding day, this is refreshingly intelligent stand-up, that also manages to be achingly funny.
A product of local university comedy society the Edinburgh Revue, he shows himself here to be already an incredibly accomplished writer, as well as performer, and has a neat eye for the slightly absurd or surreal, whilst also managing to squeeze in a couple of rather delightful puns (the actually funny kind, not the pained groan kind). You can see that this is a performer who actually enjoys the material he’s performing, which is oddly refreshing in a festival where a decent number of comics just seem to be going through the motions.
There are some teething issues- a couple of sections where the material could be tightened or the flow improved, and the odd forgotten or flubbed line, whilst some of the delivery could do to have a little bit more bite- but these are things which will be easily smoothed out by the end of the festival, and are to be expected from a debut show. Overall, this is a very promising first attempt, and both manages to be enjoyable in the present tense whilst making you excited for where this performer could grow to in the future. Definitely a show worth checking out if you want to find a new name to look out for.
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