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Harry Baker's Super-Amazing Mega-Awesome Gap Year Adventures

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Venue: Royal Oak Pub
Where: Edinburgh
Run: 8 to 18 August 2011 at 15.15

There is no doubt about it; Harry Baker is incredibly talented. Hot on the heels of a wide range of awards for his spoken word and poetry, he’s come to Edinburgh. It’s a difficult show to catch (hidden underneath the bustling Royal Oak pub mid-afternoon), but what a show it is.

Baker has just come to the end of his gap year, and his spectacularly witty and intelligent poems are tied together beautifully with stories of his experiences through the past few years. The show is a funny, and often self-deprecating analysis of his development from boy to man. It’s honest, sweet and touching, and at times has the audience in hysterics.

Nothing about the show has a pretentious or staged feel to it; Baker commands the room with a humble presence, and comes across as completely genuine throughout.

In the wake of news from London of rioting and disorder from young people, there is something incredibly life-affirming about this show, and about the personality and charm of 19-year-old Baker. This is Fringe at its best, and may be the best piece of Free Fringe you’ll see this year.

- Chris Wheeler