In his sophomore Fringe show, the 2022 Edinburgh comedy awards best newcomer nominee shows why, out of all the nominees he is the one most likely to make the transition to mainstream TV shows.
It’s his relaxed delivery and ability to produce anecdotes at will that immediately establish a rapport with an audience, as well as neatly dividing up into the ten minute slots required for Live From the Apollo.
Opening with the revelation that he has given up drinking, before qualifying that in a way that suggests he has merely cut down, he shows that he knows the value of big statement comedy but that he’s not going to do it himself.
Instead, he plays on the contrast between his physical appearance and his love of musical theatre to wring out the comedy from his love of musical theatre and his previous work in West End shows such as Daddy Cool. He also uses his lack of awareness of street slang, and observations of drunken people, to turn another former job as a bouncer into a rich seam of jokes, before his time working in an office job adds another strand of material that hits the mark every time.
Sonubi is an incredibly confident performer. Just a few years into his career as a stand-up, he already sounds like someone who has been around for decades. A routine about some of the corporate gigs he has played over the last year include some of the best moments of the set, but also tell you all you need to know about his comedy. He’s not looking to be edgy, make big points or offer up social commentary, he’s just looking to make people leave theatres with smiles on their faces.
For the most part it works, although the set isn’t as strong as the show that rightly earned him his award nomination. Some of the material will already be familiar to anyone who saw his breakout show, and many of the new routines are not as original.
The show feels stretched by the end, and the addition of an overly long closing song only adds to this. It’s still a good show, but not a great one.
Underbelly, Bistro Square to 27 August
Photo by Terry Murden (DB Media Services)