Review by Graham Finney
As Summer rolls into Autumn, the nights get darker and the weather gets colder and wetter so, who better to brighten up this dreary October Friday night with his bright outlook on life than Romesh Ranganathan, someone who support act Jen Brister jokes is a joy to be around when she’s feeling a little down.
Speaking of the support act, Brister hits the stage like she is the headline act. Full of brazen confidence, the award-winning comedian holds nothing back as she talks through her life as the lesbian mother of twins. From a conception that confuses any male she speaks to through to daily life, her experiences of how becoming a parent changes your life resonate loudly around the York Barbican. In fact they hit home so hard that, as she takes us into the soul destroying world of playgrounds, her screams of anguish as the routine reaches a glorious finale couldn’t be more heartfelt if they tried.
When it comes to family life though, there is no man more brow beaten by it all than the headline act who builds the core of his set around life as a father of three children. At times speaking like a man truly beaten into submission by the antics of his three kids, Ranganathan might admit that he’s just “f**king around” when he describes one of his three as a “complete prick” but you get the feeling that is said through gritted teeth especially as he recalls how the said offspring managed to get lost during a torturous day trip to Brighton beach.
Back on the road, Ranganathan is free from the shackles of family life and he’s on fire as he vents for nearly two hours about a whole range of topics other than his feral offspring. Setting himself up as a target for social media trolls, the comic reveals how his recent foray into the world of Twitter to take on the likes of Millwall Football Club has caused him no end of grief. Elsewhere, attempts to lose weight by taking on a personal trainer has ended in just as much stress and misery for the funnyman and, as for public reaction to celebrity deaths on Facebook, well, best you don’t get him started on that subject.
Throughout all of that though, the stories all circle back to one subject, Ranganathan’s family. From trips to Butlins and Center Parcs to Fireman Sam to trying to reignite some passion into his marriage while one of his offspring stare out from across the hall, Ranganathan might be a family guy at heart but you get the feeling that he is using his time on stage as some kind of therapy for the unrelenting torment they put him through on a daily basis. Tortured and tormented he might be, for the thousands of fans who are pouring out to his shows, the superb Ranganathan proved why he is currently one of the hottest tickets on the stand-up circuit.