A seasoned Fringe performer, comedian, and freestyle rap artist, Chris Turner is not short of words or rhymes in this fast-paced, improv filled, rap bonanza. Claiming the improbable position of “Rap God”, Turner packs the show with a robust display of his credentials. From the milky way boy of rap, to roman numerically based musical comedy, Turner displays a certain omnipotence when it comes to his mastery of this improv-comedy-rap based genre. Undoubtedly impressive, his performance is, though, at its strongest when improvised, as the middle content somewhat lacks the same originality and strength of thought that litters his on-the-spot comedy.
Turner wastes no time in flexing his quick-witted observational muscles, as he opens the show with an improvised rap based on the members of his audience. Fitted out with a Go Pro strapped to his chest, which connects his view of the audience to a screen at the front, Turner confidently manoeuvres his way through the packed audience with a good-humoured eye. From mocking the audience member who came to this evening performance armed with a Bento Box full of sushi, to ribbing the three lads in near-identical checked shirts, Turner creates an amusing opening number which is sure to be highly personalised to the night.
From here, Turner settles into a largely pre-prepared section of the show, which, whilst littered with some fantastic one-liners, is somehow less polished than his completely off-the-cuff stuff. The contents of the show are slightly scattered, from discussing his childhood appreciation of rap, to deep-diving into 23 and Me DNA test results. Whilst at times highly self-aware, such as in his discussion of misogyny in music, occasionally he loses his footing, and it’s not quite clear where some of the jokes are punching.
In the final half of the show however, Turner once more turns to improvisation, by asking for five scenarios from which he would produce a rap. Here the rapid pace at which he conjures connections between seemingly distinct topics is incredible, as he effortlessly weaves together a set on post-modern maritime history, with the devastating impact of uncomfortable silences. Backed with free-style beats, these raps have you straining your ears to keep up with the number of punchlines littered throughout. As a grand finale, Turner squeezes 20 words taken from the audience at the entrance to the show into a stunning 3 minute rap, performed against the countdown. For this stunt alone, the show is well-worth a visit, and if you do go, be sure to have an improbable, difficult word prepared.
Chris Turner: Rap God is performing at Pleasance Dome – AceDome, Aug 18-28.
Image: Will DeVito, provided to The Student as a press image.