Daliso Chaponda, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury - review
Walking on stage with a big beaming smile, Daliso Chaponda had disarmed his audience without even saying a word.
With a laid back and relaxed demeanour and a cheerful, light-hearted manner, it made you want to listen to what this Britain’s Got Talent star had to say.
He certainly had plenty to say – whether they were funny jokes or more serious moments that reduced the audience to momentary silence.
It was no surprise that Daliso’s experiences on Britain’s Got Talent – where he shot to stardom and reached the final, eventually coming third – featured prominently.
There were funny moments – admitting he couldn’t have given the £250,000 prize to charity like last year’s victor Tokio Myers had.
Or perhaps the joke involving the Paralympics and paratroopers that the producers wouldn’t let him do on TV – despite it leaving them in stitches.
But then there were less palatable parts, like the threatening online messages and hate mail he got for using politically non-correct jokes about the likes of slavery on the show.
As issues such as race and religion came up, there was often a serious side to the humour.
But the message Daliso wanted to get across clearly chimed – if we just talked about things rather than getting offended by them, perhaps we’d all be better off.
Daliso also shared somewhat colourful experiences of life growing up in his native Malawi – including tales of exorcism, attempts to censor his jokes, and the pressure of his father working in the Malawian government.
With his trademark high-pitched voice and occasionally wild eyes, you were always engaged with what he was saying and wanting to hear more.
You had to be – when one poor chap got up midway through the act for a toilet break, Daliso pounced on him. I’m not sure what the guy must have made of it on returning to his seat to be told by the comic that his choice of Valentine’s Day restaurant for his girlfriend hadn’t been up to scratch.
But despite some of the subjects sailing close to the line, we left uplifted – there may be lots of misery in the world, but why not just smile and not take it so seriously.
Daliso was ably backed up by northern comic Dom Woodward, who warmed the audience up superbly with his impressions of Manchester school children as he tried in vain to teach them drama. He also gave the crowd a taste of what was to come with a few jokes sailing close to the wind that left people not sure whether to laugh or gasp.
During his tour Daliso will perform at Birmingham Mac on March 9 and Wolverhampton Civic Hall on March 16 before returning to Theatre Severn on May 4. He will also appear at Birmingham Town Hall on May 18.