Darren Harriott: Defiant
- Brian Donaldson
- 25 August 2017
A solid opening salvo let down by too many lukewarm pay-offs
Darren Harriott is worried that he's not really good enough at being black. That sounds like the interesting germ for an entire show, but instead it's followed by one line, the often-posited viewpoint that Barack Obama was not the Superman everyone thought he would be given all that Muslim-bombing he conducted on a daily basis.
This is Defiant in a nutshell: lots of potentially good ideas let down by humdrum or familiar follow-throughs: surely we've gone well past the moment of talking about tracksuited neds and chavs being less than athletic? And for someone whose key stance is that political correctness has gone far too far, he does seem to take quite a lot of issue with the bigoted things people write below-the-line.
But when Harriott does hit on a good line or routine, it certainly soars. There's probably a whole other show waiting to be written about the relationship he had with his late father, a drug addict who committed suicide, and he is amusingly frank about his chaotic upbringing (he notes that his family tree would resemble a cannabis plant). Already exuding a strong stage aura and armed with bags of confidence, Harriott will hopefully use his Best Newcomer nomination as a platform to create bigger and better things.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug, 9.30pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).