Secluded away in the Pleasance Courtyard’s Bunker One, John Hastings enters to a dimly lit and somewhat claustrophobic room, which he himself compared to the last days of the Third Reich. However, the venue works in his favour, creating a sense of intimacy which allies itself with the often personal nature of his subject matter.

Reflecting upon his (premature) birth, awkward childhood, and a relationship with his father based almost entirely upon an over-told parental joke, Hastings’ speaks with a self-awareness and candour that wins the audience over from the start.

Engaging, observationally astute, and genuinely funny, Hastings’ tangential narrative of his formative years ensured, thankfully, that the worst joke of the night was the one written by his dad.

Words: Jennifer Watson

John Hastings: Marked from the Start, Pleasance Courtyard, 7-30 August, 9.40pm

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