Daniel Kitson: Something Other Than Everything @ The Royal Exchange

Daniel Kitson is a genius. I know this because it’s one of those things smug people say to let you know that they like comedy more than you. At long last, tonight’s the night to find out for myself.

Given that opening paragraph, there’s a certain irony in any sort of write-up. Kitson neither wants nor needs to be reviewed. He’s only in Manchester for another two nights and those are sold out. I am, in large part, not-so-subtly highlighting that I was there.

However, I no longer have to take people’s word for it that Daniel Kitson is one of the finest stand-ups in the country. I’ve seen it now. Something Other Than Everything is right out of the top drawer.

There’s nothing like watching comedy in-the-round to let you know that what you’re about to see is intended to be a piece of art. The bladder-bothering two-hour running time with no interval is another clue, and serves as a warning as we sup our pints beforehand.

You really don’t want to miss a minute either, because Kitson crams plenty into every one of them. His machine-gun delivery doesn’t hang around for the pleasing punchlines to land. Keeping up is just part of the fun.

He flits in and out of four main stories that run right throughout the show, orbited by beautifully observed asides that tie everything together in the last 20 minutes. We’re taken from a remote Scottish island, to a restaurant queue, to a homeless man asking for change.

There’s also an anti-racism campaign, where we hit a part of the routine that courted controversy earlier this year. I don’t have the required personal context to comment on whether the bit in question is objectionable or not. I thought the joke was funny and didn’t feel obliged to dwell on it any further.

Beer and ticket

Kitson’s monologue is sprinkled sparingly with spontaneous audience interaction, in part to avoid interrupting the pace of the action. For the sake of not fanboying too hard, it does cut one punchline off in its prime.

The whole experience is somehow both rambling and razor-sharp, a chop suey of anecdotes that’s also a structural masterclass. He knows he’s clever and there’s nothing wrong with that in our book.

At Cup of Beans Towers, we often come out of shows quoting lines at each other. Our nerdiness and unspoken desire for one-upmanship usually means we remember chunks of material verbatim. Tonight, we can only recall a handful. That’s not a criticism. We were just too busy laughing. A lot. Did I tell you Daniel Kitson was a genius?

Okay, so this show’s pretty much done. Should we have reviewed it earlier in the run? Probably. Too late now, innit? If you went too, tell us what you thought of it in the comments below, or come and chat to us on Twitter!

 

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