Edinburgh Fringe 2016 Review: Joel Dommett: Pretending To Smoke With a Breadstick

Joel Dommett treads the line of being charming and alienating his audience. Reviews

★★★☆☆

When Joel Dommett arrived on stage I was struck by just how much he looked looks like a T4 presenter of old, and after a bit of research it turns while he has never that, he has hosted Live in Chelsea. After watching Dommett’s set this makes perfect sense and I wouldn’t be surprised if he lands a spot as a presenting regular at some point; he conjured up genuine charm and was at his most likable when caught off guard and interacting with the audience, but some of his bigger set pieces didn’t really achieve what it seemed like he had hoped for. At the same time he can sometimes come across as a bit arrogant, as too much of a ‘celebrity’ to be relatable.

The whole show balanced on this boundary, between Dommett coming across as charming or unrelatable. When caught off guard by some rowdy audience members at the beginning of his set he was very funny, as were his interactions with a particularly keen audience member, but at other times he was less successful. One event in particular (which I won’t specify as to avoid spoiling the joke) is promised non-ironically to be the highlight of the set, but ends up lingering longer than it warrants, ultimately being received as lukewarm by the audience.

Dommett swings back and forth in terms of likeability, at his best he brings a rare energy and a fair amount of charm to his show, but at his worst he risks alienating his audience

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