Review: John Hastings: Float Like a Butterfly, John Hastings Like a Bee at Pleasance Courtyard

As soon as the lights go down, John Hastings takes to the stage in the packed out, hot, stuffy room in Edinburgh’s Pleasance and quickly explains to the audience how he was hit by a car and how he has murdered a pigeon.

He wastes no time falling into the trap that many acts do of spending half of the show introducing themselves and meeting the audience members, but manages to weave this smoothly into his main body of material.

This interlacing between prepared material and improvisation works to Hastings’ advantage as, throughout the course of the hour, he invokes ever more laughter while deftly handling audience walk outs, receiving some very left-field answers to his questions, and heckling from a pair of older gentlemen in the crowd. None of this distracts him from the show as he immerses himself (and the audience) back into his jokes about pigeon owners, the Royal family, vegetarianism, guns, and people’s haughty refusal to give food to homeless people.

One would expect such varied topics to create a jarring effect and disrupt the flow of the show, however, Hastings somehow keeps the narrative steady through his expressive storytelling and stage presence. Things begin to drag slightly towards the end as Hastings becomes a little preachy on the topic of US gun law, but if this is the only fault in a show full of hilarious stories then it can easily be disregarded.

If you needed any more reasons to go see ‘Float Like a Butterfly…’ Hastings admits that he is soon moving to the USA, so unless you want to include flights into the cost of your tickets, go see him now.

John Hastings: Float Like a Butterfly, John Hastings Like a Bee, Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug, 8.30pm


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