Sam Bowden is a talent, that much is obvious from his new one-man show.
He also proves game to ask larger questions about life and to engage with his audience on all manner of topics. Yet ‘The Epicurean Shark’ remains a work in progress much like the comedian himself.
Throughout, the show is entertaining, Sam structures it well, starting out with jokes about his mum and exchange students segueing into performing at marijuana rallies and then full on partying in Edinburgh taking various substances. The further down the rabbit hole we go – which by the way involves other animals and fluid sexuality – the comedian proves a likeable but unapologetic guide. There is a fierce energy and relaxed confidence in him, letting jokes slide if he’s too fast, pointing out if the audience have missed a good one or if the vibe in the room has dropped.
Easily eliciting big belly laughs, the shaggy-bearded 25-year-old slows down and gets more thoughtful as the show goes on. By the time he’s talking about drug use he seems aware that he could lose the crowd, but he is prepared to cut back the jokes, ask questions and reveal him making decisions that could have gotten him killed. That’s brave and honest and he holds your attention throughout. It also means a lot that he has trusted us to share in this conversation.
Ultimately though, he offers nothing more profound than 'do everything in moderation'. Also, as smoothly as the show rolls along you can’t help thinking that Sam, who has supported some of comedy’s biggest names, could’ve made a tighter set out of this material. That, as an hour long show, there is still something missing; the premise that people are drawn to things that are bad for them and why is an interesting one. Sam already has the questions and some very funny observations but now he needs to find some insightful answers for his show to really go to another level.
For now, ‘The Epicurean Shark’ is funny, and an enjoyable hour at Wonderland Festival.