Jake Massey

Review: Reginald D. Hunter: In the Midst of Crackers – Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Newcastle

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Canadian support act, Pete Johansson, appears to be the ideal booking tonight, immediately warming himself to the audience through his profound love and mispronunciation of some of the nation’s most famous landmarks.

However, Johansson has not forgotten his Canadian roots and is keen to endorse the reinstatement of bears in Britain, citing numerous social phenomena that have prospered in our country in the absence of bears.

The relatively youthful appearance of Johansson belies his wealth of experience on the comedy circuit, which is reflected throughout his set as he dabbles creatively and confidently in all manner of subject matter.

Indeed, his intelligence as a performer enables him to revel in cultural criticism of topics no less sensitive than religion and abortion, as the ingenuity of his gags avert any potential offence. Johansson is a thoroughly recommendable comedian in his own right.

As the lights go down following the interval, the inimitable figure of Reginald D. Hunter swaggers onto the stage, and it is clear from the get-go that he has a lot to get off his chest.

Hunter’s notorious penchant for a particular word has come under scrutiny recently following his performance at the PFA Awards, which was seen to undermine the association’s anti-racism campaign, Kick It Out.

Tonight Hunter speculates whether or not a ‘Lynch It Out’ campaign in the deep south would be more productive.

Indeed, the PFA resurface throughout the course of the show for the purposes of comical lampooning, however, it is plain to see that the furore that surrounded the show has, understandably, antagonised Hunter.

Yet, having convinced the audience to his own satisfaction that ‘the black Bernard Manning’ is an unbefitting label, Hunter adopts a more light-hearted tone (relatively speaking), detailing the joys of various bodily releases before explaining the super power of his dreams – yes, these two themes are related.

As the show progresses, Hunter is able to craft a very intimate atmosphere through his exceptional engagement with the audience, employing lighting and ‘show of hands’ polls to great effect and silencing  hecklers with veritable effortlessness.

Moreover, Hunter’s supreme power and control as an orator allow him to captivate the audience as he vividly articulates both amusing and thought-provoking tales and insights. No complaints tonight.

Date of live review: Saturday 1 June 2013