sun 15/12/2019

Andy Parsons, Stamford Corn Exchange review - politics and the art of persuasion | reviews, news & interviews

Andy Parsons, Stamford Corn Exchange review - politics and the art of persuasion

Andy Parsons, Stamford Corn Exchange review - politics and the art of persuasion

Cheering antidote to Brexit blues

Andy Parsons is trying to heal the nation through comedyAndy Hollingworth

Andy Parsons is a comic known to like a good old rant, particularly on a political issue. But in Healing the Nation he takes a calmer, more conversational approach as he tries to do what it says on the tin in a show that he fully expected to be performing after the UK left the EU – but more of Brexit later.

In trying to dig down into what it means to be British in 2019, he starts with seemingly more mundane stuff about issues that may divide us in theory but in practice don't lead to us gouging each other's eyes out, such as transgender issues or the badger cull, and how easy it is to make small changes in behaviour to make everyone happier. He cites as one example how the Government's "nudge unit" found a way of getting men to take better aim when they use urinals, and then builds it into a cracking joke about cock-biting mosquitoes.

Parsons throws in the odd anecdote about being the dad of two young children, and he gets a lot of good material from a fascinating project he has been involved in to promote better mental health and combat loneliness ("Campaign to End Loneliness" can be seen on YouTube). As with much of his humour, Parsons delivers some self-deprecating asides here, about being a famous bloke off the telly not being recognised as he engaged with the public while recording the project.

The second half is more straightforwardly political and Parsons does his best to be even-handed in examining both Labour and Conservative leaders and the state of their parties. While his analysis can't be faulted, some of the material already seems dated – he talks about Jeremy Hunt's run at the Conservative leadership earlier this year, for instance. But there are also plenty of bang-up-to-the-minute jokes as well, and his take on how we got to this point with Brexit – a mind-bogglingly complicated piece of writing and exposition – is tip-top.

Parsons has some enjoyable filth too (super-wanking and super-STIs are explained), and he also muses on the natural selection involved in people getting bitten by an adder in a show with a notable breadth of references (Chernobyl, 9/11 and a mint fizzing in Coke are also in the mix).

In a cleverly constructed show with a lot of callbacks and a very funny precis of what has gone before, Parsons leaves us with a hopeful message and reminds us that tolerance and freedom of speech are still very much part of our national psyche. But for those who worry that we're going to hell in a handcart, two hours in Parsons' company will at least make you enjoy the ride.

  • Andy Parsons is touring until 10 June 2020

 

Parsons does his best to be even-handed in examining both Labour and Conservative leaders

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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