Colin Chadwick - Digital Legacy
Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2017
Here is a show with a fundamentally original theme at its core, it is well-researched, delivered by a funny guy with great comic timing and has a rather cool concluding section the style of which is seldom-seen. Colin Chadwick is an instantly likeable chap with the most easy-going of styles, not over-confident but very much in charge of his audience. The opening 10 minutes of this 50-minute show is some light and breezy, pretty straightforward stand-up with a sprinkling of just the right amount of non-threatening audience banter ("I won't pick on you, well, not till after the show anyway"). As the title of the show suggests, his theme is broadly staged around the subject of death and social media, but there is no sense of foreboding or morbid inevitability in his material, rather the opposite, and he has some interesting and highly creative ideas about what an individual's digital legacy might be.
Unfortunately the humour of the opening routine gives way to something more lecture-based,- the nuts and bolts of Chandwick's theories, interesting for the most part but not particularly funny and there is little in the way of audience reaction. He does his best to slide in a few gags along the way but we have the clear sense that he has attempted to make a discussion about an intriguing idea funny simply by opening it with a stand-up routine. He embarks upon quite a lengthy personal anecdote which is quite central to his theme, and, although he seems such a lovely chap, it does really sound like a mate in a pub telling you a story rather than a structured comedy narrative one might buy a ticket to see. That being said this is a free or 'pay-what-you-want' show, so no-one is conning anyone here.
Chadwick also struggled to incorporate his tech into the show smoothly. His use of recordings, effects, iPad/iPhone etc all worked fine but there were too many moments of hiatus as he searched for the right button to press, or connect the right wire to the right device. Perhaps "struggled" is the wrong word as he seemed quite unruffled by the minor technical blips, but the stop/start moments lost the pace of the show and struck some fairly unprofessional chords.
The ending was cool. Not funny, and intentionally so, but interesting nonetheless and a very satisfying conclusion to the structure of what had gone before. Time and experience will probably allow Chadwick to smooth over the technical side of things, but if only he had been able to keep alive the humour and promised energy of the early material, perhaps we would all now be debating our own digital legacies with the passion and enthusiasm he set out to engender.