national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


(Jem Atkins)

Single Dad pretty cool! (Review: John Harley)

This production presents local comedian Jem Atkins in his one man witty, funny and brutally honest glimpse of marriage, surviving divorce, the corporate grind and chronic fear of dating ....all whilst raising his own little boy.... alone!

Atkins, a Northwood and UKZN old boy received rave reviews for this show at the Grahamstown Festival - and one can see why...he is really very good indeed!

This was my first visit to the Stirling Theatre and a most entertaining one. It is a very nice, intimate little space, with a warm atmosphere and perfect for a stand up comic.

Jem Atkins has a very comfortable, relaxed and easy stage presence; interacting constantly with his audience - these interactions were in no way forced or contrived but flowed spontaneously and added a wonderful dimension to his overall presentation.

I was also impressed with the varied and relevant nature of his material, which was delivered with confidence and ease. He certainly has a great sense for the art of comedy and comedy timing which is essential for this particular theatrical art form~ a most difficult one, I must hasten to add!!

He proceeded to introduce his audience to some delightfully clever and funny insights to our crazy world, in an edgy and most off-beat way; taking the most mundane topics and turning them into the most sublimely bizarre perspectives - the mind boggles at what must be going in that head of his, but, whatever it is, it makes for excellent comedy.

I did have a small problem with there being an intermission for a show of this nature, and with the fact that time constraints were clearly placed on him - he was constantly checking his watch.

He had the audience in the palm of his hand! This energy now needed to be continued and flow into a natural, organic, pre-planned climax to the show - a technique he will undoubtedly master with more experience.

The “set” also bothered me slightly - not sure I see the point of all the props if they are not going to be used? A performer with a great stage presence; a lovely intimate space and a responsive audience, great material ... what more does stand up comedy need!!

Jem Atkins is indeed a very talented, intelligent young SA stand up comedian. Please! Take the trouble, stand up and pay him a visit wherever and whenever he performs ; he is worth every cent! – John Harley