My third show at this year’s Fringe was a personal favourite. Someone who never fails to brighten up any TV show he appears in, and one of the few people who could give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside even if he was insulting you to your face: Reginald D Hunter.
Turning up with twenty-five minutes before show-time, I was surprised to find the queue already snaking around the Assembly Hall at the top of the Mound. I waited there for another forty or so minutes as the queue circled all the way to Wash and back around. When I finally got in, staff were shouting at the top of their lungs “Keep to the right!” over and over and I thought “steady on guys that’s how f**king Brexit happened”. It was all a bit of a shambles to be honest but I tell you what – when I eventually got to my seat it was the best venue I’ve been to yet.
The first surprise of the evening was seeing Hunter roll out in a wheelchair. Whispers hissed out around me. Is this a joke? Or is there a story? He called out the first of several elephants in the room: yes, he had broken his leg in two places, so yes, there was a story, however we didn’t get to learn it. I assume it had something to do with kicking ass too hard.
Hunter’s strongest skill is his ability to control his audience. We hung onto the substantial pauses between stories. We waited with him, watching his lips begin to form words as he considered how best to begin each story. It was masterclass. Sure, this preview show was a little disjointed and Hunter apologised for that, explaining that these early shows are a chance to test things out. None of us minded. It was genuinely wonderful to listen to his observations on America, racism, Trump, Brexit and even transgender bathrooms.
A minor grievance during the show was a stag do who laughed like there was something wrong with them behind me. Hunter was consistently hilarious of course, but the laughter of people behind sounded like the guttural choking of fat cartoon clown after being punched in the stomach. It was a little distracting when they started to laugh mid-story like they had figured out their own end to the joke. Still, their drunken bad behaviour couldn’t spoil such an outstanding show.
Photo courtesy of Kash Yusuf.
Reginald D Hunter’s Some People Vs Reginald D Hunter runs until 27th August at Assembly Hall, 22:30.