Nobody had a great 2020, but Nathan Cassidy had a particularly bad time—he was burgled, and ended up chasing his burglar down the road to the tune of Flight of the Bumblebees by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov playing on his AirPods. This is the scene which the next hour is built around, as his life flashes before his eyes and he recounts us with his memories.
You don't get many true crime comedy shows, and I've found myself wanting more—as long as they're all as well-executed and funny as Cassidy's. He had all of the stage presence and confidence of a seasoned comedian on a main stage, and it feels criminal that he was performing in such an intimate setting. Cassidy is more deserving of main stage slots than a lot of comedians I've seen. Or at least, a Netflix special, as he bemoans his lack of this to date.
His callbacks and story linking were flawless, and he elegantly switched from comedy to some darker, more serious stories in such a controlled and seamless way. He bounces from darker topics like calling Prince Charles the 'ice cold killer of Princess Diana and Prince Philip' to asking why people were trying to organise raves when it's 2021, not 1985. He explores when subtlety and morality were lost, and traces it back to 'most boring politician ever' John Major's affair with Edwina Currie.
When he's not making edgy political jokes, Cassidy transports us back to his family home growing up: he tells us he's from a 'broken home', sharing a room with three older step-brothers 'wanking so much it was like being on a boat', and living with a step-dad who he didn't like. Have you ever tried to slam beads that are hanging in a doorframe? Cassidy has, embarrassingly, and he really makes us feel like we're in that moment with him.
I said that the show was built around his memories as his life flashes before his eyes, but it turns out that's not true—the memories are those of his stepdad. He tells us how, actually, he's chasing the burglar down the street for his stepdad, to do what he could never do after being burgled in the Post Office-cum-greengrocers he used to work in.
Cassidy's show is about family, it's about being burgled, it's about why he doesn't have a Netflix special (yet). But it's also about the last year of our lives, and how Cassidy's stepdad was just a man looking after people he didn't know—and what have we been doing if not looking after people, both those we know and love and those who are, or were, strangers to us. Strangers like the burglar, who had lost his musician income in 2020 and was down on his luck and desperate.
Nathan Cassidy is one of the funniest comedians I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. His pacing, stage presence, confidence and storytelling are exemplary, and you can tell how polished and perfected he's made his show. Listen closely Netflix—this man is going to be too big and too good for one of your specials soon!
Nathan Cassidy: Bumblebee will be at the Caroline of Brunswick on Sunday, June 6, Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20. Run, don't walk, to book tickets at https://www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/nathan-cassidy-bumblebee-153050/.