Dear Epson…

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On Saturday, April 5, comedian Danny Bhoy graced Victoria with his presence at our own Royal Theatre, which I had the opportunity—nay—the pleasure to watch. Having been a huge comedy fan since my first experience with Just for Laughs when I was but a girl, Bhoy’s work is not unfamiliar to me, and I was quite looking forward to the performance.

The show started out well, and it wasn’t long before I was giggling and “oh my”-ing in my seat. Unfortunately, to no fault of Mr. Bhoy’s, I happen to have found myself seated behind the largest head in the city of Victoria, which was in turn behind the second-largest head in the city of Victoria. It almost made me question what they are putting in our water.

Dangers of widespread gigantism aside, Bhoy has a very charismatic stage presence, interacting with audience members and waving his arms about the stage with the skill and ease of someone who has been doing so for the past 16 years. Indeed, his energy was strong despite Victoria being the last stop on a country-wide tour. His comedic timing is something to write home about (you might even say it’s something to write an article about), and the show had a fluidity that made you forget what a segue even ever was. It seems as though Bhoy has this stand-up comedy thing down to a (stand-up) science.

But herein lies the issue: the show was mechanical. The specific formula it followed, full of strategic digressions, forced references to earlier jokes, and timed “audience reactions,” is almost a trope. Considering the spontaneous nature of stand-up comedy, I would have liked to see less to-the-moment scripting.

The show, which was titled “Dear Epson . . . “ revolved around a series of letters that Bhoy said he wrote to various companies, such as Epson, Olay, and British Airways, and read them to the audience beside an antique desk. It was a magnificent bit that started out hilariously; I especially loved his letter to Olay in regards to their Age-Reversal Cream asking, first of all, why this wasn’t headline news, before talking about the real meaning behind “clinically proven.” 

It wasn’t long, however, before the bit began to get old. While an interesting way to frame the jokes, they weren’t quite strong enough to hold up an entire show. Over the course of 90 minutes, I believe that Bhoy read a total of about eight letters, each one a little bit more stale than the last, finishing off with a rather charming note to his young self that wrapped up the show nicely.

Overall, Danny Bhoy’s performance was well-rehearsed, and well-delivered. The jokes were light, goofy, and entertaining; the audience responded with delight. However, the formulaic nature of the show made me feel like there was very little variance between this one and any other on his tour. Though Bhoy is clearly a very funny man who has a captivating stage presence, this show did little to separate itself from any other for me, or leave me with very much to take away.  I give it three out of five stars.

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