With his gangly appearance and self-conscious teenager persona, Bo Burnham seems an unlikely figure to be at the centre of attention for being the next big thing in comedy. However, within 10 minutes of his stand-up show “Words, Words, Words”, one is left in no doubt as to why.
His hilarious Swiss army knife of a show comprising songs, raps, haikus, poems, one-liners, mock-plays and superb improvisations, coupled with a blisteringly fast delivery and a mastery of the English language second to none makes you feel like you are in the presence of true comic genius.
With an astonishing acting talent, he performs the entire “to be or not to be” soliloquy, then proceeds to play Shakespeare at his own game, and wins. Top-notch material is backed up by a maturity of performance which never ceases to send the audience into further fits of laughter.
“I hate that term ‘young comedian’; I prefer ‘prodigy’” half-mumbles Burnham in modest tones. Just another example of the self-mockery which permeates his show, alongside a song brutally drawing out the attention-seeking behaviour which leads people to go and do comedy shows in the first place.
This constant deconstruction of the artistic mind (“as an artist, people often ask me, Bo, how do we fix Africa?”) underpins the nature of Burnham’s performance. Subverting expectations, gleefully offensive, brilliantly clever, “Words, Words, Words” is a joy to behold.
19-29 August, 9.35pm