“Italians Do It Later”
Francesco de Carlo Pleasance Courtyard Reviewed 19th August 4 stars
De Carlo’s full of gumption. He had some middling reviews early in his run, but from what I saw he took on the criticism and has improved on his weaker elements. He’s definitely not one to shy away from a challenge – attempting standup in what he admits is less than perfect English can be intimidating for both him and his audience. But he’s also capable of tempering his vim with dexterity and open vulnerability.
In essence, he doesn’t bludgeon you with his jokes. Although he has a spitfire pace and a delivery style characterised by high-energy gesticulation and confident charm, Italians Do It Later has a surprising subtlety. There’s, almost inevitably, plenty of gags on cultural stereotypes both British and Italian; but they’re curiously fresh and insightful.
Having said that, de Carlo’s not entirely the surrealist that he’s billed as when performing in Italian. His Italian perspective gives him a distinction from most other standups that you’ll be exposed to, but both he and his audience would benefit if he had more experience in English – his ability to construct complex bits or ad-lib seems restricted.
It’s also true that some of his observations seem to have been received second-hand, although it’s refreshing to see that he’s updated some of his reflections on Scotland and England (with a greater understanding of the dynamic between them).
The highlight of Italians Do It Later is de Carlo’s encore, of sorts: a sight gag bit featuring a narrative told in emoticons. For me, it combined his pumproom style of comedy with a hint of the surrealist depths he’s clearly capable of. I enjoyed his English show; but I’m more looking forward to Francesco de Carlo evolving from it, into his obvious latent potential.