Hari Sriskantha: Clown Atlas

19/08/17

The Counting House, Edinburgh

Every year at the Fringe you’ll encounter plenty of hopefuls with their gazes fixed on the glittering prize of a critically-acclaimed stand up show. Currently plying his trade every afternoon at the Counting House is likeable young comic, Hari Sriskantha, who tells us that his main ambitions are to get people to pronounce his name correctly and for them to stop confusing him with Romesh Ranganathan (which is puzzling, since the two men look nothing like each other). Sriskantha is a former physics graduate and a Chortle award finalist in 2012. He’s played short sets at the Fringe before but this is his debut full-length show. It’s basically about ‘Happiness’ which, let’s face it, makes a refreshing change from the usual misery and desolation.

Sriskantha has an appealing presence but still needs to develop a little more confidence in his material. At the moment, there’s a tendency for him to push the pace, hurrying on from a punchline before giving it enough time to properly strike home and that’s a pity, because there are some real zingers in there. A linking device he employs using musical accompaniment struggles to work here, mostly because he’s got too much competition in the form of a noisy band playing in a nearby courtyard – and I would have liked to see the printed cards he occasionally holds up incorporated into a PowerPoint display – but he’s definitely one to keep an eye out for in the future. The more he gigs, the more his confidence will grow and I certainly won’t be at all surprised to see him making a much bigger splash in 2018.

As ever with the ‘free’ Fringe, please ensure you take cash along to throw into the bucket at the show’s conclusion. Tomorrow’s greats need funding today if they are ever going to reach their intended destination. Sriskantha may not be there yet, but he’s certainly on the right road.

3.2 stars

Philip Caveney

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