Neil Sinclair is a survivor. Perhaps not in the heroic sense, but certainly in a shambolic ‘managed not to die’ kind of way. Panic tells the tale of how Sinclair managed to get through the London Riots with naught but his wits, and copious amounts of wine to sustain him.
Sinclair has created a delightful show from what must have been a terrifying experience. The show is largely set in a Whitechapel flat, where Sinclair is panicking with his roommates as the rioters get closer to their home. The show has a very laid-back feel to it, however, perhaps because of Sinclair’s conversational style. There are occasional pieces that feel more structured, such as the interludes in his kitchen ‘War Room’, which are hilarious – particularly his pun-tastic readings from the twitter feed. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good dad joke on occasion? Sinclair even pulls out the ukulele for a song or two, including a mesmerizing jingle for his electronics store, Neil’s Electrics.
Of course, the show is not all innocent puns and adorable ukulele. A wonderfully painful drawn-out moment in which Sinclair crafts the perfect comeback to his mum’s lecturing had me in tears. However, Sinclair’s story of the riots is a quintessentially British one. In the aftermath, no one discusses what has happened – something Sinclair attempts to rectify with a brilliant self-help tape. His roommate even has ‘fond memories’ of the event. It’s altogether civilized.
Panic is a quirky and downright charming show. Sinclair’s act is a little rough around the edges, but is so endearing that you find yourself rooting for him the whole way through. There is a lot to like about this show and Sinclair is certainly a comedian to keep your eye on.
Neil Sinclair –Panic! is on at Rue Bebelons Upstairs until April 21.