David Trent: Spontaneous Comedian ★★★

Julian Hall - The Independent, 6th August 2012

Eighteen months ago David Trent, a 40-year old junior school teacher, performed some of his video-assisted routines in front of hundreds of people at the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year award.

Tonight a fraction of that audience is packed inside one of the Fringe’s smallest, sweatiest venues to see the burly comic perform some of the same routines, but to much greater effect.

Though reliant on computer and video technology for his scripted set-pieces (hence the deliberate, contradictory title), Trent is decidedly lo-fi in his ethos – using speeded-up footage of a marker pen writing on an index card to represent Twitter, for example.

Other stand-alone, throwaway delights include the sexing-up (literally) of a scene from ‘Love Actually’ and re-imagining how Chris Rock’s stand-up might help someone give birth. This segment is based on an real-life story but Trent takes it to an extreme, juxtaposing Rock’s more vociferous routines with the increasingly stressed reaction of the woman in labour.

The denouement sees this comedians’ comedian taken to task by his own computer (“You can’t write a segue to save your life”, it lambasts, in a voice styled on HAL, the sentient computer in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’) for his schtick. It’s all very silly, and a little saggy by this point (reliant as it is on Trent’s half-hearted acting), but it’s a show that will flourish among others that take themselves much more seriously.