Daliso Chaponda: What the African Said

27/04/18

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

There’s a curious dilemma to be considered whenever you are planning to write a review of somebody you know. Daliso Chaponda is a longtime friend of Bouquets & Brickbats and, naturally, we worry that people are going to think that we’ll inevitably big him up, because… well, he’s a mate. On the other hand, do we choose to ignore one of the funniest comedy shows we’ve seen in ages? In the end, we decide to review and be damned. Hey, what’s the worst that can happen? Some mean remarks on Twitter? We can live with that.

Of course, we’ve followed Daliso’s career since earlier days, when he was gamely plugging his way around the intimate comedy venues of the UK. But a lot has changed since then. In 2017, he came third in the 11th series of Britain’s Got Talent and naturally, it brought him to much wider attention – hence this UK tour entitled What the African Said. The Queen’s Hall is packed out with eager punters and, from the moment he walks onto the stage, he has the audience in the palm of his hand.

I find myself pondering what has changed since those early days. Not that much, really. His delivery is perhaps a little more exaggerated, allowing him to milk every line for ultimate comic effect and, though he’s always been supremely confident, he now has the kind of ease with an audience that surely only comes from steady touring. His material still ranges from the controversial (an always amusing – and sometimes challenging – African perspective on our cosy white privilege) to the mildly saucy (the trials and tribulations of dating, replete with descriptions of a sexual nature). He gets away with the latter, mostly because of his appealing persona – did he really say that? I think he did! He’s adept too at making you see familiar situations in an entirely different light.

He gives us a lengthy and very wide-ranging set, a good eighty minutes in duration, and it doesn’t flag for a moment. Indeed, he leaves the audience vociferously shouting for more and, when all is said and done, that’s the ultimate sign of a successful comedy show.

His  tour continues across the UK, culminating in August with a week at the Edinburgh Festival. If he comes to a venue near you, do yourself a favour. Grab a ticket and head down there. I’m willing to bet you’ll have a very good time… unless of course, you’re one of those people who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh. In which case, this really isn’t for you.

5 stars

Philip Caveney 

 

 

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