Review: Ian Smith – Craft

Ian Smith embarks on a mission to make 1000 origami cranes

★★★
comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 05 Aug 2018
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Ian Smith

Ian Smith’s show Craft is a gleeful hour inspired by the joys and frustrations that come with the art of origami.

Making use of various media (from slide shows to video clips, plus a splash of audience participation), Craft has an appropriately homemade feel. But the narrative arc of his origami exploits is a silly gimmick and he knows it. This isn’t a serious lesson in Japanese craft, though it is enjoyable enough to watch these paper swans frantically appear, alongside Ian's faux-arrogant commentary. The audience even largely forgets about the promised finale until Smith eventually loops back round to it. 

The apparent premise of encouraging his audience, and, crucially, himself, not to shut themselves away at home for too long, is rather vaguely outlined. But he uses it as a foundation for this outer layer of tomfoolery – a playful bit of paper folding and a gag about the incompetency of his tech guy.

An often bundling source of energy, Smith somehow also has a centred quality. This becomes most prominent when discussing more personal topics such as his relationship and experiences of working from home. The interesting blend of apparent naïve enthusiasm, complete competency and emotional availability makes it easy to relax with this performer.

Underneath it all, there’s heart. It’s not always easy to spot a point beneath the surreal quips and anecdotal tangents, but it’s clear that Smith has an understanding of the layers that build a show, which, in this context, is certainly enough for a thoroughly enjoyable hour.