Reviews Theatre

REVIEW: Cory John Rist – A Rise Of One’s Own @ Fringe

Words by: Natasha Bloomfield


Soft jazz and a small framed photograph of Rist greet the audience as they wait expectantly for “everyone’s favourite deadpan comedian.” The next forty minutes is an off-kilter mixture of cultural and personal references that aim at, from what I can tell, either vain self-promotion, or an incredibly in-depth session of self-exploration.

The beginning of the show is off to an interesting start. Following ten minutes of support guaranteeing the show will be wicked, Rist steps onto the stage, a tall man wearing all black. He stands at the microphone and a voice-over that is his inner dramatic consciousness insists that he speak and start the show. The slightly awkward moment of self-doubt is a vast contrast to the remainder of the show, which is a lot of Rist being extremely confident, throwing out queries to the audience like “Give me a cheer if you’re homophobic” and “Who thinks I’m the most attractive comedian you’ve seen at Fringe World?”

The highlight is without a doubt the musical numbers. They are encouraged by Taylor Swift, whose face appears on a projector sporting Rist’s mouth. Following is a number by Rist where he foregoes his shirt and dances with an audience member to “Shake It Off.” Another interesting number is at the end, when there is a three minute meditation session. It includes taking two breaths in simultaneously, focusing on one’s breathing, and repeating the lyrics of “Scatman” by Scatman John twice a day. If one adheres to this, they will be as happy as Rist – an interesting claim given the nature of the show.

Whilst the deadpan delivery and fast-paced topic jumping won’t be to everyone’s taste, performing a one-man show for forty minutes is nothing to sniff at – and the woman seated next to the man who received the lap dance was absolutely loving it – so clearly the show has its target audience. If this sounds like something you’ll like be sure to check it out.