Racing Through History - Daniel Nils Roberts: The History of the World in 1 Hour

3.5 stars

To cover the history of everything in, well, not quite an hour to be honest, is a hugely ambitious challenge.

This doesn’t deter Daniel Nils Roberts, who you might have seen as part of the improv supergroup Racing Minds, and armed with naught but a clipboard and a slideshow he attempts to take us from the Big Bang to Brexit.

Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD

Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD

This is easily the most amusing history lecture you'll ever see upstairs from a cocktail bar. It has such a density of unpredictable wordplay that the almost hour races along; and despite not making quite as much progress as our host might have liked, it’s really quite fun.

Roberts’ delivery is suitably dry, with the performer pausing just long enough for a pun to land before rushing into the next one.

Daniel Nils Roberts: The History Of the World in 1 Hour is the sort of show you'll chuckle along to, relishing the numerous callbacks that perhaps, at times, become overly anticipated.

Although it's a relaxed, silly show it’s well-paced and never drags. Crowd work is a highlight, with Roberts successfully connecting with individuals while not causing them to feel uncomfortable, and the subdued style of the performer suits the subject matter to a tee.

While the performance is absurd in a classic British style, it always seems to be on the verge of launching into something truly off beat before simmering back down. The integration of Roberts’ delivery with the slide show is effortless, apart from a closing scene that doesn't flow quite as well.

Taking alternately religious and secular views on history is an interesting choice and that, like the rest of the show, is done with surprising sensitivity. Since everything is poked at with gentle derision, nothing really gets singled out.

This is a show that doesn't push any boundaries, but it doesn't really need to in order to be a jolly good time.