Chris Cross Is Escaping From Reality, Fletch @ St Andrew's, Brighton, May 12

It's a testament to the escapologist's boyish likeability that he can waffle on for a good 50 minutes before actually escaping from anything.

Dressed in garish yellow and black with his hair on end, Cross slowly built up his act from a starting point of chatting away with his audience to a slick straitjacket escape.

It's not often you could describe a 6'6" Geordie as endearing, but Cross's wide-eyed enthusiasm as he explained he would perform some contortion stunts to get things going soon spread around the audience and, after another protracted bout of waffling, he began popping his shoulders out of place.

I hadn't realised just how squeamish I was about this kind of thing until I saw Cross's shoulder blade jutting from his back at a 45-degree angle, a disturbing feeling that peaked when he picked on a member of the audience to push it back in.

The audience's reaction to these peculiar shapes was hilarious and the straitjacket escape was impressive enough, but too much of the show felt like a cabaret slot that had been thrown on to the stretching rack.

With a little more structure to the show's more stand-up elements, Chris Cross could have the makings of a truly individual act.

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