Inspired by last night’s On Narrative talks, my mind immediately turned to the magnificent Daniel Kitson. He broke through as a stand-up comic but over recent years has concentrated on storytelling – spellbinding long-form shows which celebrate the fragility of life and the redemptive power of relationships. The video quality isn’t great, but sit back and soak up the first couple of minutes of his Stories for The Wobbly Hearted to see a true craftsman at the very top of his game.
You might recognise him as the hapless barman Spencer from PeterKay’s Phoenix Nights but that was a rare flirtation with the mainstream. He has turned down offers to follow his fellow comics flocking to their own television shows and has never released a DVD or even a CD of his much sought-after shows. At the Edinburgh Fringe Festival he usually sells out his run within days but whispered rumours of late-night appearances waft across the city along with the smell of the local breweries.
On paper his formula seems quite straightforward – he comes out onto a sparsely furnished set (a chair here, a lamp there) and he sits and tells stories. But the magic lies in the power of his imagination, a beautiful turn of phrase and his ultimate faith in the inherent goodness of people.
He is coming to London in October for a run at The National Theatre on the South Bank, but that too has sold out. If you are one of the lucky ones who did bag a ticket, you’re in for something really special.