tue 27/02/2024

Comedy Reviews

Grumpy Old Women, Dorking Halls

Veronica Lee

Anyone looking for a novel way into their PhD on how the British like to be entertained would do well to sit in the audience of the live version of Grumpy Old Women, a successful spin-off from the BBC television series where celebby femmes d’un certain age sit and moan about whatever takes their fancy. Students of British social mores will learn that what Brits love more than...

Read more...

Al Murray, Brighton Dome

Veronica Lee

When Al Murray started doing his Pub Landlord character in the mid-1990s, many (including me) thought it was an invention of comic genius.

Read more...

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Vaudeville

Veronica Lee

It’s a big ask for any performer to take on a role that was written specially for another actor, but Diana Vickers’ supporters from her appearances in last year’s X Factor on ITV will be pleased to learn that she acquits herself very well indeed. She is Little Voice in Terry Johnson’s pleasing revival of Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which began life in the National’s Cottesloe Theatre in 1992 with Jane Horrocks in the title role.

Read more...

Comedians, Lyric Hammersmith

aleks Sierz

What are the politics of comedy? The great thing about Trevor Griffiths's 1975 classic, Comedians, which opened last night in a solid revival directed by Sean Holmes, is that this subject is debated with grace as well as humour. As six apprentice comedians attend a night class run by the veteran stand-up Eddie Waters, they find that their hunger for stardom clashes with his desire to use comedy to make a difference, to change society.

Read more...

Frank Skinner's Credit Crunch Cabaret, Lyric Theatre

Jasper Rees

The watertight theory behind the Credit Crunch Cabaret is that we all need cheering up, above all on Monday nights. Frank Skinner compered 10 of these start-the-week-for-a-tenner variety nights earlier in the year. He returned last night for another 10-Monday stint. Variety was still on the agenda: it’s never not going to be the case that in a bill with four acts, some are going to be funnier than others. Much funnier.

Read more...

Simon Amstell, touring

Veronica Lee

“Let’s start with ‘I’m so lonely’,” says Simon Amstell at the top of his show, Do Nothing. As an opening line for most comedy evenings, that would be about as enticing as the oyster special at the Slurry Pond Inn but thankfully the ex-host of BBC’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks serves up an evening as witty as it is intellectually nutritious.

Read more...

Michael McIntyre, Wembley Arena

Jasper Rees

“Got a mortgage.” Thus spake Michael McIntyre last night. It’s an article of faith for McIntyre - an all but unique selling point - that he is one of us. He wears a suit to work and doesn’t think about al-Qaeda that much. How many other comedians do you come across who remind you even vaguely of you? Where most stand-ups are weird or ugly or angry or hairy or epically rude (or all of the above), McIntyre is groundbreakingly normal, boy-next-door bourgeois. The jokes are all about the things all...

Read more...

Andy Parsons, touring

Veronica Lee

For my money, Andy Parsons is by some distance the best panellist on BBC2’s Mock the Week - not that you would know it from the editing, which appears to be in thrall to that shouty Scottish bloke. Parsons is quick, witty, clever and has a command of current affairs that only MTW host Dara O Briain can match. What...

Read more...

Julian Clary, touring

Veronica Lee

“He’s a naughty lad, isn’t he?” said an elderly lady to her husband as they left Julian Clary’s show, Lord of the Mince, which had numerous references to gay sexual practices. The remark wasn’t made in anger, mind, but with a smile on both their faces - and that’s a clue as to why Clary gets away with some unbelievably smutty material. As with many a camp gay comic, from Frankie Howerd and Larry Grayson to, more recently, Graham Norton and Paul O’Grady, the British public just love...

Read more...

Rich Hall, Hammersmith Apollo

Jasper Rees

The departure from the Oval Office of George W Bush was a catalyst for much street festivity over the water, for inappropriate hugging of strangers and random multi-ethnic high-fiving. Of course whole tranches of the all-American demographic were somehow able to contain their excitement at the coming of Obama – among them oil profiteers, health insurers, people whose recreation includes shooting other people in the head. But none mourn Dubya like American comedians.

Read more...

Pages

 

latest in today

Drive to Survive, Season 6, Netflix review - F1 documentary...

When the first season of Drive to Survive launched on Netflix in 2019, it was greeted with suspicion by some in the Formula One paddock....

Shifters, Bush Theatre review - love will tear us apart agai...

For the past ten years, Black-British playwrights have been in the vanguard of innovation in the form and content of new writing. I’m thinking not...

Così fan tutte, Welsh National Opera review - relevance redu...

We can’t do without Così fan tutte; it’s an irresistible masterpiece. But it’s a thorn in the flesh of modern directors, who...

Driving Mum review - a dark comedy that has you laughing out...

Hilmar Oddsson’s award-winning film Driving Mum is pitch-perfect. Jon has spent the last 30 years looking after his domineering mother....

Manon Lescaut, English Touring Opera review - a nightmare in...

Opera in Britain is currently cursed by funders, politicians and ideologues – of right and left – who heartily detest the form. Alas, some...

RSNO Chorus, Doughty, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh review - br...

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus has a well-established concert life away from the main orchestra; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra...

Album: The Bevis Frond - Focus on Nature

Musically, the assured Focus on Nature knows exactly what it is. Fuzzy,...

First Person: Ten Years On - Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña pa...

There are moments that forever remain imprinted in our consciousness, engraved on the general map of our lives. I cannot forget the excitement of...

Music Reissues Weekly: Blank Generation, Just Want To Be Mys...

“I hate it, so I guess Eater have succeeded.” NME’s March 1977 appraisal of the debut single by UK punk's teen sensations was direct...