Observational Tragedy

As you enter the venue, Chris Turner has you write down a 'thing' on a post-it note: something which can be anything, so long as it's not obvious. (I wrote 'electoral fraud'.) And his first act of the night is to take those notes at random and to turn them into freestyle rap before your very eyes. Which is no mean feat, considering he specifically asks for things that are difficult or obscure.

This is used to excellent effect in order to demonstrate that Turner's brain is not wired the same as yours. He can remember facts well enough that freestyle comes easily to him, but it's a superpower that comes at a personal cost. One which you can learn about if you visit this show.

Observational Tragedy is not as sad as the promo material will have you believe, though. It's really quite jovial, with plenty of sweetness and lots of genuine laughs. There's even hardcore nudity (!), and Turner's callback gags are on point.

This is a show that trades in earnestness, though, and it does find ways to tug at your heartstrings. I was particularly touched by a story Turner extracted from an audience member about lying on his grandfather's lap as a child, and playing with the glasses which hung on a string around his neck. What Turner then did with that story — I think it was more awkward than endearing, personally. But it was at least in-keeping with the theme of the show, which I liked quite a lot. And from the way the audience responded to it, I think they liked it too.

★★★½