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HARI SRISKANTHA: CLOWN ATLAS

So Comedy

Comedy

Venue:The Counting House, 38 West Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9DD
Phone: 0131 667 7533
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: The Lounge
AUG 3-13, 15-27 at 16:45 (60 min)
 
Show Image

Rejected titles: ‘Joy Story’, ‘Ha Ha Land’, ‘Hari Sriskantha and the Order of the Glee-nix’. Basically: this is a show about happiness. The debut hour from Hari Sriskantha: a 2014 BBC Radio New Comedy Award finalist, a 2012 Chortle Student Comedy Award finalist, and the presenter of BBC Brit's 'Socially Awkward Situations’.
Previous praise:
“So bloody good… a unique style that’s quite chilled but also blindingly intelligent.” - The Skinny
“Hugely confident, hugely slick… a welcome offbeat, slightly geeky sensibility.” - Bruce Dessau
“Warm, intelligent comedy… his talent is much bigger than the room he’s performing in.” - FringeGuru


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News and Reviews for this Show

August 27, 2017 British Comedy Guide
British Comedy Guide recommended show 2017
This promising young comic begins by getting the crowd to pronounce his name properly, and proves a smooth and surprisingly commanding presence given his youth. Stories are related at a decent pace, and there are plenty of laughs to be had. He is clearly one to watch.

British Comedy Guide Click Here

August 26, 2017  Chortle
Hari Sriskantha opens with some wry material about mispronunciations of his name, of being mistaken for that other Tamil Sri Lankan stand-up Romesh Ranganathan, and of the comic who failed to remember him, despite spending nine hours, largely alone in his company. For he does have something of the unmemorable and bland about him.

Although he worried about how his parents would react to him marrying a white girl, with little cause as it turned out, you cannot imagine any such anxieties on the part of her family. Clean-cut, droll and intelligent, he seems about as perfect a son-in-law as a comedian with a useless degree in theoretical physics, entirely inapplicable to an actual job, might be.

Indeed, he comes across as rather too content and well-balanced, irrespective of his parents' divorce, so has to manufacture insecurities and try out different types of stand-up, with various degrees of success, as he struggles to find his voice.

His racial identity informs this to a limited extent, as he perceives increasing racism and feels threatened by random groups of white men, while being impressed by Aziz Ansari's depiction of second-generation experience in his sitcom Master of None. There's some entertaining pique in the lack of wedding cards applicable to his mixed race union, too. But it's a rare bit of grit in some otherwise milquetoasty reflections.

He's a little bit nerdy, setting up physics and literary jokes to get more laughs with their relative geekery rather than their content. And he's very much a beta male. His stand-up origin story is the archetypal tale of trying to impress a girl, and he suggests why he wouldn't survive long in an apocalypse.

Maybe he'd do best to embrace his nerdishness though, because when he contrives a clunky but clever ‘bees and terrorists’ conundrum, it's one of the few take home moments.

The oddest aspect of this show is his take on Mo Gawdat's mathematical formula for happiness, the basis for his bestseller, Solve For Happy, taking five of the six illusions the book suggests as obstacles and turning them into a tale about a cavewoman entrepreneur, suddenly recounted in blue light with a soft jazz soundtrack at various points throughout the hour.

I have absolutely no idea what his intention was here as these lengthy scenes are fitfully amusing but conveyed with the import of something grander. In desperation I found myself Googling the high-concept book and film Cloud Atlas alluded to in his show title, which I've never seen nor read and have only a passing awareness of. Yet I'm still none the wiser.

He has a stab at satire with some audience interaction and stats on the disparity between the perceptions and realities of benefit fraud and the percentage of the population that identifies as an ethnic minority. But it's delivered by rote.

The crowd-pleasers are his proposal story, which you can imagine landing well at the wedding, and his relatable incredulity at the price of the ceremony, the seemingly arbitrary costs attached neatly encapsulated by his winning account of the ring shop.

As I say, obviously smart, seems like a lovely bloke and can hold a room. But I'm labouring to identify what Sriskantha has that can set him apart. And I wonder if he is too. Click Here

August 21, 2017  The List
Lukewarm material blunts a promising comic's Fringe debut

Hari Sriskantha was once described as 'offbeat'. Having watched his first full Fringe show makes you wonder whether it was the writer or the comedian that was in something of a strange mood that night. For Sriskantha is as clean-cut as they come, giving off the air of your eighth or ninth funniest friend as he meanders through some low-key audience chatter and material that is often too lukewarm.

Once mistaken for Romesh Ranganathan, this finalist in the Student Comedy Award competition of 2012 is on a dual mission: to ponder the notion of happiness and for people to pronounce his name properly. Sriskantha recently got himself wed which gives him plenty to chew on for the former and has a workshop in place for us to get a handle on the latter.

There's something of a red herring let loose through his mysterious side story (told in snippets and with moody, recorded musical accompaniment) about a woman called Amber which, as time goes on, feels like a very long way round to get to one joke. But it's Hari's game and he's going to play it however he so chooses. Still, Clown Atlas is warmly affectionate with a number of good gags, and Sriskantha might soon be a name to look out for (and say properly). Click Here

August 20, 2017  Young Perspective
3.5*
Summary
Some teething issues, but overall a confident and assured debut hour.

You tend to give a little bit of leeway to debut hours- often you find a performer in the process of finding their voice, trying something new and longform for the first time, and it can be a bit shaky. That is certainly not the case with Hari Sriskantha’s Fringe debut ‘Cloud Atlas’.

Sriskantha is confident and assured, and the material has the polish of someone who has been producing hours for far longer than is the case here. Primarily an hour of storytelling, with some very clever narrative devices that I don’t want to give away here, about his wedding day, this is refreshingly intelligent stand-up, that also manages to be achingly funny.

A product of local university comedy society the Edinburgh Revue, he shows himself here to be already an incredibly accomplished writer, as well as performer, and has a neat eye for the slightly absurd or surreal, whilst also managing to squeeze in a couple of rather delightful puns (the actually funny kind, not the pained groan kind). You can see that this is a performer who actually enjoys the material he’s performing, which is oddly refreshing in a festival where a decent number of comics just seem to be going through the motions.

There are some teething issues- a couple of sections where the material could be tightened or the flow improved, and the odd forgotten or flubbed line, whilst some of the delivery could do to have a little bit more bite- but these are things which will be easily smoothed out by the end of the festival, and are to be expected from a debut show. Overall, this is a very promising first attempt, and both manages to be enjoyable in the present tense whilst making you excited for where this performer could grow to in the future. Definitely a show worth checking out if you want to find a new name to look out for. Click Here

August 19, 2017  Bouquets and Brickbats
3.2*
Every year at the Fringe you’ll encounter plenty of hopefuls with their gazes fixed on the glittering prize of a critically-acclaimed stand up show. Currently plying his trade every afternoon at the Counting House is likeable young comic, Hari Sriskantha, who tells us that his main ambitions are to get people to pronounce his name correctly and for them to stop confusing him with Romesh Ranganathan (which is puzzling, since the two men look nothing like each other). Sriskantha is a former physics graduate and a Chortle award finalist in 2012. He’s played short sets at the Fringe before but this is his debut full-length show. It’s basically about ‘Happiness’ which, let’s face it, makes a refreshing change from the usual misery and desolation.

Sriskantha has an appealing presence but still needs to develop a little more confidence in his material. At the moment, there’s a tendency for him to push the pace, hurrying on from a punchline before giving it enough time to properly strike home and that’s a pity, because there are some real zingers in there. A linking device he employs using musical accompaniment struggles to work here, mostly because he’s got too much competition in the form of a noisy band playing in a nearby courtyard – and I would have liked to see the printed cards he occasionally holds up incorporated into a PowerPoint display – but he’s definitely one to keep an eye out for in the future. The more he gigs, the more his confidence will grow and I certainly won’t be at all surprised to see him making a much bigger splash in 2018.

As ever with the ‘free’ Fringe, please ensure you take cash along to throw into the bucket at the show’s conclusion. Tomorrow’s greats need funding today if they are ever going to reach their intended destination. Sriskantha may not be there yet, but he’s certainly on the right road.

3.2 stars Click Here

August 10, 2017  The Skinny
An alumnus of the Edinburgh Revue, Hari Sriskantha brings his first full-length solo show to the Fringe with a spring in his step. Sriskantha aims to teach us about happiness, the things that keep us back from it and how we can get closer to it. Freshly married, Sriskantha was recently faced with the prospect of having the Happiest Day Of His Life ruined by his own mind, but managed to turn it around. A few nerdy asides add an extra flavour to an hour of stand-up where storytelling stands front and centre.

Acknowledging how clever his audience is, Sriskantha takes us through an imagined story of a cave-woman searching for her own happiness, and goes back and forth over his own material to fact-check and re-arrange. His treatment of racial topics is simply hilarious and passed off with a shrug, and he is acutely aware of how the changing political landscape affects which jokes he can and can’t tell.

Touching on the political, the surreal and the structure of his own jokes, Sriskantha avoids getting too philosophical by bringing us back down to earth again with puns and simple observations of the world. Click Here

August 9, 2017  Voice
He'll certainly put a smile on your face.
Slightly nervous, a little geeky and incredibly likeable, Hari Sriskantha is a stand-up comedian who might not make you laugh out loud, but he'll make you grin until your cheeks hurt.
His set is filled with the classic anecdotes about his new wife, divorced parents and that job he hated, but there is an overarching theme of happiness which is explored through a five-part story about a cavewoman named Amber. The structure of the show feels a little all over the place, with Sriskantha sometimes randomly returning to topics 20 minutes after first mentioning them, and I still don't fully understand Amber's relevance. The material itself, however, is witty and amusing, and there are moments of hilarity that show potential for genius.
There were, unfortunately, a number of times when Sriskantha spoke too quickly and interrupted himself before finishing a sentence, which created a slightly frantic tone and made what he was saying a little difficult to follow. It seemed like he was letting his nerves get the better of him in these moments, which was a shame as I felt many of his jokes would have been funnier had the delivery been slightly more polished.
I didn't find the show hilariously funny, but I genuinely liked Sriskantha and his material. He'll definitely make you happy, and for a show about happiness, I think that's quite a success. Click Here

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