Jon Pearson: Last Supper

Fri 8th – Sat 23rd August 2014

reviews

Ben Horton

at 19:39 on 15th Aug 2014

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Divorce is a subject you normally expect to associate with sadness, bitterness, or anger. With this in mind it might seem surprising that Jon Pearson thought it an appropriate topic for stand-up comedy. The resulting performance was not one filled with depressing anecdotes. Instead Pearson brought to bear his talent for observational comedy on a range of other parts of his life to present an hour of sometimes amusing but always forced stand up.

Pearson did spend time focusing on the break up of his marriage. He admitted early on that “At this point of the show I’m just trying to make her sound like a bitch so that you’ll like me.” The problem for Pearson was that this character assassination actually made him less appealing because of its excessively bitter tone.

It soon became apparent that this focus was merely a frame into which he set a series of less cutting anecdotes. These generally centred on his family, a particular highlight being the story that his dad convinced him from an early age that the film Top Gun was based on his grandfather’s life. He also poked fun at marriage counselors before recounting his experiences in a house share after his divorce.

This last section was based around a clichéd caricaturing of the computer nerd, complete with references to Star Trek. At times it verged on offensiveness but this was balanced by Pearson’s admission that he had been one himself earlier in life. This gave him a certain leeway because the humour was partially self-deprecating rather than wholly bigoted.

Sometimes Pearson’s natural ability for working an audience shone through and made for some genuinely funny moments. But all too often these moments were crowded out by some cheap and petty jokes which were laced with cynicism. Comments on the size of the audience, “Some of you have brought spare chairs with you…well done,” were joined by incessant references to money – both in terms of the cost of his divorce and the cost of this production. This spoiled what otherwise was an enjoyable hour, if Pearson so resented being in Edinburgh it was hard to know why we should suffer his morose tale.

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Rachel Mfon

at 21:07 on 15th Aug 2014

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Two proposals, one restraining order and five councillors later, Jon Pearson invites us to laugh at his pain, as he opens up about his three year marriage and 'The Darkness' that followed. A story of heartache that has the potential to be belly-achingly funny but barely tickles your insides.

As we enter the macabre pits of Why Not? Nightclub, the mood of misery is set by a playlist that is possibly entitled 'can life get any worse? Yes, yes it can.' The sound of self-pity flows from the speakers, making us chuckle all the way to our seats while cleverly introducing the topic of the show.

Complete hilarity might be achieved if this bitterness was carried through to the actual performance but Pearson seems to be completely over his divorce. This is great in reality but truthfully, we want to hear all the tragic details. We want to love Pearson and we do; his warm and upbeat character wins us over. But we also want to hate his ex-wife, just a little bit.

Pearson's brief and anticlimactic story about their break-up lacks the impact it could have had, had we been convinced that the ex-wife was 'a proper bitch'. The Last Supper leaflet features a beautiful wedding photo of Mr and Mrs Pearson. Mrs Pearson is defaced with giant devil horns and a moustache and immediately grabs our attention. A little slating of an ex-love never hurt anyone.

In fact, Pearson receives more laughs whenever he isn't mentioning the divorce. Branching off into stories about his family and other mad-hatter characters, we are far more interested in the nonsensical anecdotes from dad, nanny gone wild and his roommate who is allergic to many things including Pearson. These characters supply Pearson with great material for brilliant and witty gags.

Pearson's comedy show vows to make you laugh all night and live happily ever after. Although there were some great moments, this sacred promise isn't quite upheld. He'll have to try harder at his next show to make his audience fall deeply and madly in hysterics.

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