While Daniel Nils Roberts may not be a household name, he’s a ‘name’ in Fringe circles, having achieved success as part of the acclaimed hit improvised show, Austentatious. Coming from this kind of pedigree, we know we can expect a slick, well put together, professional and reasonably funny show (many of the Austentatious crew bring solo shows to the Fringe). And this is exactly what we get.
Nils Roberts is a charming frontman. He interacts and banters with the audience well. The show begins with a lengthy period of ‘admin’, to explain what lies ahead and draw comedy by parodying the show’s concept (trying to cram the entire history of everything that’s ever happened into under an hour – the show actually has a 50 minute run time). It’s a multimedia piece and follows a very amusingly constructed powerpoint. It’s a nice source of alternative visual focus, especially in a festival that’s full of one-person shows. Much of the humour is derived from some cleverly designed Pythonesque graphics and the overarching effect is like watching your favourite teacher at school, or kids’ TV presenter, give an enjoyably absurd end of term history lesson.
In many ways The History of the World in 1 Hour is an ideal family show – the time slot would verify this too. There’s a bit of slightly adult content – although this could be overlooked by more open-minded parents. As a grown-up (and this audience is all adults) it can feel a bit too silly in places. It’s full of what might be called ‘dad jokes’, the type that has you simultaneously chuckling and groaning. Some of the jokes go as far as being a bit cheap – which Nils Roberts himself owns when making a hackneyed potshot at Donald Trump’s hands. However, there are plenty of well-obeserved ones and a smattering of cerebral ones too.
All in all, it’s a pretty entertaining and amusing show. Daniel Nils Roberts is a solid performer, there’s no doubt of that. The History of the World in 1 Hour maybe doesn’t make the best use of his spontaneity skills. Yet with a combination of his credentials and a popular evergreen topic, he won’t struggle to get the punters in.
You can see Daniel Nils Roberts: The History of the World in 1 Hour at Clover, Underbelly until 26th August at 20:55. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/