Review: Lee Kyle: Kicking Potatoes Into the Sea

Genial and warmhearted comedy with a darker undercurrent

★★★
comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Lee Kyle: Kicking Potatoes Into the Sea
Published 19 Aug 2018

One day, Lee Kyle found himself kicking potatoes into the sea, and he's got the video evidence to prove it. The route that led him to believing this was a productive and typical way to spend an afternoon is outlined in an hour propelled via his genial and warmhearted persona.

Multiple sequences evidence an ability to comically work through novel ideas, even if sometimes these are stretched beyond their limits. A reworking of the alphabet is initially funny, then outstays its welcome, then reasserts its comic value through a well-structured payoff. Another section about repeated sounds in words could do with some trimming too, even though it is testament to a creative comic mind. Indeed, there's considerably more technical cleverness going on here than might be apparent at first, as callbacks and recurring themes bubble to the surface in unexpected ways.

But there's an odd incongruity between these self-contained comic ideas, and the darker themes that pepper the show. Kyle recounts his mental health issues, and how these both inform, and construct barriers to, his comedy. Given his evident skill in weaving together multiple narrative strands, it's a shame the interplay between the serious and the comic isn't more fluid. The ending successfully draws all the thematic threads together in a manner that reveals considerable technical skill, and it's good to experience a show that offers a meaningful denouement. If only the journey there had been smoother.