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Lee Evans, O2 Arena | reviews, news & interviews

Lee Evans, O2 Arena

Lee Evans, O2 Arena

No amount of fart gags and racing about can hide the cobwebs on these jokes

Lee Evans entered in a blaze of lights after a pre-recorded backstage song-and-dance numberEllis O'Brien

Lee Evans is one of those comics people either love or can't stick, and the audience at the O2 Arena last night clearly fell into the former camp – not much point in them being there at 55 quid a pop otherwise. For the latter group, though, his new show, Monsters, would be further proof that the Billericay stand-up is all style and no substance.

He makes his entrance with a pre-recorded song-and-dance number, burbling backstage with a large troupe of dancers and then appearing, alone, in a blaze of lights. Had he reinvented himself as a variety entertainer after his recent sojourn on the West End stage in Barking in Essex? No, but it's a bright start to an otherwise increasingly dull evening as he renders old, hackneyed and in places distinctly dodgy material

Evans made his name as a comic who gave observational gags a surreal twist, with lots of physical comedy thrown in for good measure, but all the face-pulling, funny voices, fart gags and racing about the stage can't hide the cobwebs on these jokes. It's a bit unfair that dyslexia is a difficult word to spell for dyslexics; those post-surgery plastic cones make dogs look like Shakespearean characters; why don't they use retrievers as bomb disposal dogs; his wife's a battleaxe – and so on. Oh dear, oh dear.

Even the new material, such as it is, has a whiff of pre-used about it, and when he talks about Job Centres and cheap hotel rooms, one instantly thinks: when was Evans last in either? Observational comedy may be a comic's own view of the world, but that world has to be a recognisable one to the audience.

There are, thankfully, flashes of wit and the great early Lee Evans, such as when he melds a joke about wearing a plastic glove on a petrol station forecourt with a clever Michael Jackson routine (complete with dance moves) and when he mispronounces a line about putting mixed veg in the microwave. He said “mixed vag” and proceeded to riff about heating up his partner's privates for a nice evening in for sex in front of the telly; it was the funniest part of the show by miles. But maybe it was scripted, and just goes to show he's a rather good actor these days.

There is something horribly dead-eyed about Evans on stage and a cynical “this'll do” air about the material. Take away the sweat, the gurning, the  simulated sex jokes, the “fank yew so much for coming” and what you're left with is far from monster.

  • Lee Evans at the O2 Arena tonight (27 September), 2-4 October, then touring until 30 November
Even the new material, such as it is, has a whiff of pre-used about it


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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You must have been watching a different show to the rest of the audience, just goes to show that most reviewers (who don't pay for their tickets like the rest of us) have had a sense of humour bypass.

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