Sunflower, Soho Theatre ★★★
Stand-up comedy has changed. Well, it’s always changing, but as Garrett Millerick points out to The Soho Theatre for a run of his Edinburgh Fringe show ‘Sunflower’, stand-up has moved vastly from what it once was in the past couple of years. Comedians aren’t just here to make us laugh anymore. They’re here to make us think – whether or not they want to.
With the political climate the way it currently is, people are asking for comedians to make light of this and give us their opinions. Which suddenly changes into all they’re wanted for. They are used as a source of informative satire and to make light relief of what we see before us. More and more stand-up shows focus around heavy and sad elements because, as Millerick says, “that’s where the money is”. Millerick had no intention of going down that path with Sunflower – but some things can’t be helped.
The originally intended Sunflower show was meant to be an hour-long show of light-hearted buffoonery and jokes on how he was such a ‘grumpy git’ – how he didn’t like cakes, holidays or anything “fluffy and fun”. Though despite the many self-deprecating jokes, well-timed rants and comedy voices, Millerick comes to a halt two-thirds into the show to share an experience he had with his wife when they lost their unborn baby.
The audience changes from this point on and is gripped and heartbroken by Millerick’s recollection. Despite all the jokes he had about not being a “nice guy”, the curtain is pulled back instantly and you see a man doing his utmost best to be there for his wife in her time of need. As touching as it all is in this undeniably sad tale, Millerick does exactly what he said he tried not to do. The set is so well put together that it’s almost a little too polished for such a raw subject. You leave not knowing how you feel about Millerick. I’m sure he doesn’t care – as long as you laughed a few times along the way.
Comedy is moving so fast that it’s oddly, nowadays a very serious subject matter. When one hits success in these shock-styled shows, many follow and within months, it changes again.
Sunflower is a show for now. It’s clearly doing very well and deserves to – I just wonder what’s next for Garrett Millerick. Is he a changed comic from now? Hopefully not.