thu 25/04/2019

Lost Voice Guy, Soho Theatre review - Britain's Got Talent winner finds the funny in disability | reviews, news & interviews

Lost Voice Guy, Soho Theatre review - Britain's Got Talent winner finds the funny in disability

Lost Voice Guy, Soho Theatre review - Britain's Got Talent winner finds the funny in disability

Material moves easily between the political and the personal

Lost Voice Guy – aka Lee Ridley – won Britain's Got Talent last yearSteve Ullathorne

Lost Voice Guy – aka Lee Ridley – won Britain’s Got Talent last year. He's a unique talent in that his cerebral palsy means he is unable to speak, and so he delivers his comedy through a synthesizer controlled via his iPad.

If you saw him on BGT, you will know Ridley uses his disability to the full in his comedy; he mocks himself and others, telling a story about the game of top trumps he played with a deaf and blind man on the train as to who deserved the disabled space more – daring to top that with a joke about the blind's man's guide dog. His gag about able-bodied people being impatient if an actual disabled person uses the disabled loo at work – “waiting half an hour for one-armed Johnny to take a piss” – takes a swipe at both camps in one sentence.

Disability, Ridley is telling us, doesn't necessarily make him a nice guy. But nice guy he is, and there's much to enjoy in his new show (although I have heard some of this material before). In an hour with a high strike rate, the one-liners fare better than the long-form jokes delivered by the computerised voice, which doesn’t do ironic or sarcastic tones. But then, working past the sometimes strange emphasis (“presents” as a verb was pronounced as if a noun in one gag, for instance) means that the laughter is delayed, giving it another level of enjoyment as the penny drops.

Lost Voice Guy moves easily between the personal and the political. He talks about his love life, which is not as busy as he would like it to be, and about how a Tory government treats the disabled. On the one hand they are supposed to be superheroes, but on the other they are regarded as a burden on the state.

Ridley is a talented gag writer, and the show is packed with jokes that range from painful puns to slow-release reveals. He presents a view of the world that only a disabled person can offer – he is literally speechless when his machine's batteries run out, for instance – and one that presents all sorts of situations in a new light to the able-bodied.

The computerised delivery means an occasional silent moment, one or two of Ridley's jokes about women are a little near the edge and his material about Stephen Hawking could do with an update, but overall this is an entertaining hour.

  • Lost Voice Guy is touring until 30 April
Disability, Ridley is telling us, doesn't necessarily make him a nice guy

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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