Comedy Review: Nik Rabinowitz Is Over It, Or A Storyteller Succeeds

March 19, 2022

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By BRUCE DENNILL

Nik Rabinowitz Is Over It! / Theatre On The Square, Sandton, Johannesburg

 

The title of comedian Nik Rabinowitz’s latest stand-up (or sit-down, as is mostly the case here) show refers loosely to the frustrations and challenges of dealing with lockdown and the pandemic, a hugely relatable topic. Such relatability, however, can also accelerate a subject’s passage into cliché, and one of the immediate strengths of this show is Rabinowitz’s decision to refer to it only in passing up front, and then to head into far more interesting territory.

Rabinowitz is a fast talker and his brain a faster content processor whatever he’s talking about, from politics to parenthood, and in this show, he applies both his intellect and his rapid patter to a non-stop progression of consistently hilarious stories. Some of them overlap, often in ways that make each of them funnier as context is added or understood, but there is never a dip – impressively, as the comedian doesn’t pause for nearly an hour and a half – thanks to the dryness of his observations and the confidence of his delivery.

In style terms, the single word that might best describe what Rabinowitz does is “storyteller”. There might be a one-line gag in there occasionally, but only as a means to connecting one event with another as he talks about his childhood, his education, his family (he is married with three kids, and they’re all fair game), his Jewish heritage and community and a handful of other elements of Cape Town-specific or more generally South African society.

Rabinowitz is not shy to confront an issue, but he does so without the rancour or aggression (is it machismo; do they feel they need to prove something?) that so many comedians fuel their acts with. He’s also supremely comfortable interacting with audience members – either cordially or when someone gets a touch cocky and needs to be taken down a step – meaning that the flow of the show is smooth and consistent, with hardly a break to breathe between cackles and guffaws.

Fine comedy craft that takes you away from the headlines and into a warmer, happier space.

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