John Hastings: Marked From The Start (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

John Hastings: Marked From The Start

Credit: Steve Ullathorner

Ploughing through disruption with an intimate family story

John Hastings is a master storyteller, treating his audience to a show that feels like a single coherent narrative rather than a series of bits. He creates an intimate atmosphere, occasionally hopping onto a bar stool as we hear a personal tale of how he, and his dyspraxia, fit into a large Canadian family.

With a clever turn of phrase and talent for imagery, Hastings describes himself as ‘a rugby player made up of bits of old Nazis’ and paints a vivid picture of hip hop artists discussing the subjects of their songs. His delivery is relaxed even when he’s mock seething with quiet anger, brushing up against controversial topics including Christianity and economics; but the bulk of Marked from the Start is safe material concerning his family. It’s not laugh-a-minute stuff but always enjoyable and Hastings holds his audience captive.

Unfortunately, on this night there’s an exceptionally obnoxious heckler, who seems to be labouring under the misconception that stand-up is completely factual. Until now, Hastings has shown to be adept at engaging and swiftly silencing boisterous audience members but when this guy repeatedly squawks ‘you’re a liar, sunshine’ and storms out, the whole room is taken aback. Luckily an audience member is ready with a Hastings family catchphrase. Should there be another disruptive asshole in his show, you’ll know what to say.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 9.40pm, £8–£10 (£7–£9).

John Hastings: Marked from the Start

  • 3 stars

Autobiographical stand-up and storytelling in which Hastings uses his experiences of depression and anxiety to deliver his own brand of humour.