fri 20/05/2022

Alan Carr, Milton Keynes Theatre review - comic keeps it relentlessly light | reviews, news & interviews

Alan Carr, Milton Keynes Theatre review - comic keeps it relentlessly light

Alan Carr, Milton Keynes Theatre review - comic keeps it relentlessly light

But real life overtakes art

Alan Carr draws the audience into his world

Lots of stand-ups plunder their personal lives for material – whether it's about friends, parents, children or partners – and many a good show has been fashioned by the telling of tales about them, or comic exaggerations at least. But sometimes real life interrupts art in the rudest possible way.

And so it proved with Alan Carr's new touring show, Regional Trinket, which starts with him telling us that he has a lot to update us on, not least his fabulous wedding in 2018 in Beverly Hills, officiated by his friend Adele. The day after I saw the show, Carr announced he was separating from his husband, Paul Drayton.

The wedding and honeymoon form a substantial part of the show, so unless Carr is busily rewriting it, it may be a truncated hour about events now shrouded in, one assumes, disappointment.

There is some new material here – not least the waspish digs at the kind of people who live in Milton Keynes, as opposed to those in Northampton, where he grew up. “OK, you got IKEA and we didn't,” he says, suggesting that the audience might be a bit up themselves. Carr can get away with much stronger insults than that – there are several in the show – because much of his shtick is about being naughty but nice. It works like a charm.

He says he did the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are, where he had seen people meet distant relatives in, say, the West Indies or the United States, to have a free holiday. Instead he found himself plodding along the less desirable (and less sunny) streets of Peckham. There are a few gags like that, where Carr paints himself in an unattractive light, but it's with a conspiratorial wink. He's drawing the audience into a confidence: celebrities are just like you because we all love a freebie.

Carr brings up some contentious subjects – his husband's battle with alcohol, anti-vaxxers and Extinction Rebellion among them – but he keeps it relentlessly light. Just when you think he's going to delve into something meaty, or revealing, the punchline is another gossipy or throwaway line.

But there are occasional gems; despite his protestations that he dislikes being camp, the physicality of Carr's act suggests otherwise as he acts out imaginary conversations and situations, and he has a touching sense of his own ridiculousness. And his description of glitter as “gay asbestos” is a genuine zinger.

Carr paints himself in an unattractive light, but it's with a conspiratorial wink

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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