sat 02/03/2024

Comedy Reviews

Andy Parsons, Touring review - reasons to be cheerful...

Veronica Lee

In the middle of another age of austerity, a climate crisis and seemingly intractable international conflicts, it's cheering that a comic should tour with a show called Bafflingly Optimistic. Even more so when that comedian is Andy Parsons, whose sardonic humour – much of it about the British and Britishness – could never be described as rose-tinted.

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Bill Bailey: Thoughtifier, Brighton Centre review - offbeat adventures with a whirling, erudite mind

Thomas H Green

I first saw Bill Bailey at least 30 years ago in the cabaret tent at Glastonbury Festival, the audience lying on hessian matting, a fug of hash smoke in the air. He seemed one of us, a bug-eyed, Tolkien-prog hippy with a stoned sense of humour and charged musical chops.

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Paul Foot, Soho Theatre review - how to discover the meaning of life

Veronica Lee

It's probably fair to say that Paul Foot is an acquired taste for some; his absurdist, poetic comedy isn't for everyone but he has built a strong and loyal following without the help of television exposure. And now in Dissolve, which debuted at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe, his comedy takes a more personal turn as he describes the mental health problems that have dogged him for decades.

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Jessica Fostekew, Soho Theatre review - age is just a number

Veronica Lee

Jessica Fostekew is ageing fast. Actually, she's not, but having recently reached 40 she says that's how she feels. And for an hour she describes to us the signs, from despising litterbugs to gaining a political viewpoint that may not chime with her peers.

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Fascinating Aida, London Palladium review - celebrating 40 glorious years of filth and defiance

Helen Hawkins

You don’t expect a couple of septuagenarian contraltos, aided by a spring chicken of a soprano in her fifties, to sing naughty ditties about jacksies and titties. Then again, if you are a Fascinating Aida fan, you do. 

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Frank Skinner: 30 Years of Dirt, Gielgud Theatre review - a mature master of class-A smut

Helen Hawkins

As the man himself says, he was awarded an MBE last year, despite the dirt, for services to comedy – though which services weren’t specified… On paper that isn’t a remotely risqué remark, but Skinner can milk innuendo from anything that comes out of his mouth.

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Tatty Macleod, Soho Theatre review - cross-Channel relations

Veronica Lee

Tatty Macleod, whose debut show is about the differences between the French and the English, has a confession to make: she's not French. She not even half English/half French, despite having lived her life between the two countries. But she's definitely bilingual and, as befits having a foot in both cultures, is well placed to compare her dual countrymen and women.

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Best of 2023: Comedy

Veronica Lee

From Covid-delayed dates (yes, that's still a thing) to emotional comebacks and assured debuts, 2023 had much to offer.

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Reuben Kaye, Purcell Room review - Australian gives powerhouse performance

Veronica Lee

As the panto season is in full swing, theatregoers will be expecting to hear some smut. For those who don't like the traditional artform but still like a bit of filth – with songs – then Reuben Kaye's The Butch Is Back will do nicely.

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Trevor Noah: Off the Record, O2 review - welcome return to standup for the polyglot motormouth

Helen Hawkins

The O2 has to be the K2 of comedy peaks: a vast ovoid drum of a place where those right at the back have to be content with watching magnified images on screens. And for a standup, there are no electric instruments to drown out the echoing acoustics.

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