Mark Stephenson: Amsterdam (2 stars)

This article is from 2015

Mark Stephenson: Amsterdam

Smart comedian limited by a lack of depth to his jokes

When your view of a comedian is distractingly overshadowed by an illuminated waving skeleton looming large in the background, who is strong enough to refuse the temptation to use it as a metaphor?

Mortality is certainly one of the points covered in Mark Stephenson’s set, as he takes us on a tale through the pain of a troubled upbringing and beyond. And the show’s title is apparently ‘a nod to the Dutch policy of euthanasia and the liberal freedom of the city’. A city that has also appropriately hosted the International Storytelling Festival.

Stephenson certainly has that skill, with a confident, compelling stage presence, working through the theme of identity, from dysfunctional upbringing to marriage.

Should that not be enough for you, although it surely must be, the audience is also treated to intermittent readings from a celebrity autobiography, which contains enough unintentional humour, drama and pathos to fill its own show.

All in all, he’s a smart stand-up voice and the set rounds off with a strong conclusion. It’s just a shame the er … bones of many of the jokes could do with a little more fleshing out to up the laughter count.

Banshee Labyrinth, 226 0000, until 30 Aug (not 17), 2.20pm, free.

Mark Stephenson: Amsterdam

  • 2 stars

Mark Stephenson / PBH's Free Fringe Mark Stephenson (Chortle Best Newcomer nominee, second New Act of the Year) brings you his new award nominated show (Leicester Comedy Festival Best Debut 2015) about the dystopian suburban childhood he suffered. There's nothing in here about a stag do or about the city of Amsterdam…