Venue- 32 Below
Given the last year and a half, it’s fair to say a lot of us are willing to give the comedians at this year’s Fringe a little leeway when it comes to how polished their sets are. In many cases they haven’t had the chance to work on material in front of a live audience, so even when shows aren’t explicitly listed as a work-in-progress, it can feel like they are. Darius Davies, however, bucks this trend with his scintillating show Don’t Be Shit.
Davies has, in his own words, decided this show will be a “greatest hits” version of his stand-up, and it’s an accurate label. What elevates the set even further is the fact that his banter and stage presence is that of someone who’s in the sweet spot of a tour: in the groove timing and delivery-wise yet not bored or jaded with the material. He makes the obligatory remarks about the pandemic that have (understandably) filtered into most sets, but if he didn’t it would have been easy to forget coronavirus was even a thing, such was his ease and confidence with the audience and his jokes.
While Davies doesn’t encourage hecklers, he does well with audience participation, solicited or otherwise. The set has plenty of excellent call-backs that show just how whetted the material is, as does his ability to fit in facts about many of the audience members he banters with. Helped by a well-used projector, the topics of the show range from petty feuds with multinational corporations to Davies’s teenage aspirations to become a professional wrestler, and each joke is delivered with plenty of panache and just the right level of self-effacement.
When it gets to the nitty gritty of the show, Davies manages to toe the line between proselytising and taking the mick. He certainly isn’t didactic, but you can tell his jokes will mesh with a younger, more socially-aware audience, despite the controversial topics he covers. Like all good comedy, he is offensive without punching down; the observations he makes might not be what you’d read in an ultra-woke student paper but are antithetical to the puerile nature of what comes out of the mouths of alleged “free speech” warriors. Energetic, self-aware, and genuinely hilarious, this show is a must-watch if you have the chance.
Dates: Running daily at 15.45 until August 29th
Image: Leo Kearse