When approaching an hour in the company of a so-called “stand-up poet”, the worry is that they will be neither as funny as a comedian nor as lyrical as a spoken-word artist, but instead display the worst potential trait of both: self-indulgence.
Not so Tim Clare's Death Drive, the most compelling solo performance on the Fringe this year. Inspired by Clare's memoir, We Can’t All be Astronauts, it's a tightly-wired dose of autobiography, stealthily cut through with bouts of blank verse and the odd ukelele cameo (but we’ll forgive him that - this is the Fringe after all).
Both the comedy and poems are deeply self-referential yet observational enough that the audience cackle with recognition throughout. And despite touching on some dark subjects - depression, suicide and the Catch-22 of living with your parents as an adult - it’s gathered together so deftly, you can’t even see the joins. This is not strictly stand-up but something new and exciting. I can’t wait to see what Clare makes next.