Chris Turner: What a Time to Be Alive (3 stars)

This article is from 2017

Chris Turner: What a Time to Be Alive

credit: Shaun Ferraloro

Silver-tongued eloquence and freestyle rap

Chris Turner has an impressive party trick. Give him a mundane day-to-day subject and he'll improvise a rap over it, complete with a convincing North American affectation that makes it sound more T-Pain than tea drinker. It's both impressive and indicative of Turner's main qualities as a performer. His razor-sharp wit, vocabulary and power of memory make him quite the intellectual comic package. Throughout What a Time to Be Alive, he's the epitome of silver-tongued eloquence, giving the impression he's read a few encyclopaedias in his time.

This show documents the journey that Turner, a mild-mannered Mancunian with a boyish face, undertook when moving to Los Angeles to be with his fiancée. Against a backdrop of Union Jacks and Stars and Stripes, Turner riffs on some cultural differences between the transatlantic cousins, which mostly centre on his love for a certain caffeinated drink and the woeful standard of it Stateside.

The downside (and it feels odd to criticise this young man's sparkling cleverness) is that Turner occasionally leaves the audience behind with his material. There's the possibility that we're all just a bit slow on the uptake, of course, but some of his more niche musings are curveballs of the highest order, reminding us we're in the presence of a great mind but not necessarily generating more than muted titters.

Chris Turner is wonderful company though, finishing with another one of those remarkable freestyle raps which has to be seen to be believed. Another impressive hour from a charming entertainer.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug, 9.45pm, £8–£10 (£7–£9).

Chris Turner: What a Time to Be Alive

  • 3 stars

Award-winning comedian known for his freestyle raps and intelligent wordplay.