Henry Paker: Man Alive (3 stars)

This article is from 2018

Henry Paker: Man Alive

Idil Sukan/Draw HQ

Impressive live-cartooning and room-splitting stand-up

There are two sides to Henry Paker's latest hour, Man Alive, in which he fuses his skills as a cartoonist and a stand-up. The drawing is genuinely impressive. Paker starts his show live-cartooning to The Beatles' 'Nowhere Man', which he says is 'harder than it looks'. No kidding. The speed and accuracy of what he does is terrific: it's funny and sweet too. Throughout the show he continues to use his illustrations to tell the melancholy story of a man who enjoys the company of nobody, a well-judged tale about the complexity of relationships that's by far the show's highlight.

The stand-up part of the set splits the room. It's mostly joyless stuff about the misery of his daily routine. Paker loves his wife, but loves being home alone much more. He hates middle-class habits: how they eat dark chocolate, go to the theatre and run marathons. He thinks it's silly that people would want to holiday in the UK. There's value in all of this (and those that laugh do so heartily), but Paker handles it in a way that comes across more self-satisfied than charmingly disaffected.

The nuance in his cheeky storytelling shows you what he's really capable of, but we only see that half of the time.

Banshee Labyrinth, until 26 Aug, 5.10pm, donations.

Henry Paker: Man Alive

  • 3 stars

Henry Paker / PBH's Free Fringe Henry found himself in a Travelodge, lunching on a can of John West Mediterranean Style Tuna Salad. A can of salad. His hopes were not high and yet, as he peeled back the lid, the unspeakable smell that hit his face, made him question two things, 1: the wisdom of buying lunch from a vending…