tue 15/10/2019

Rob Beckett, St David's Hall, Cardiff review - a mixed bag of observations | reviews, news & interviews

Rob Beckett, St David's Hall, Cardiff review - a mixed bag of observations

Rob Beckett, St David's Hall, Cardiff review - a mixed bag of observations

Scattergun approach yields both killer lines and tame misses

'A hilarious observational comic'

There’s been no avoiding Rob Beckett in recent years. His high beam smile and infectious personality have made him a mainstay of comedy shows. Now he’s back on the road with what he calls the best job in the world, stand up. You can tell he means it, with a show that thrives on enthusiasm if not consistency.

“Wallop” is a show of two halves, quite literally. There’s no tour support, instead favouring a cheap selection of inappropriate songs to introduce two 45-minute sets from Beckett. He uses this time to zip through a mass of topics, including cookware, soft play, family weddings and Kinky Boots.

At his best, Beckett is a hilarious observational comic. His inter-class marriage provides him with a gold mine of material, whether it’s his children’s mixed accents or the different levels of Center Parcs visitors. When it lands, it hits that sweet point between the truth and the unexpected, bringing roars of laughter and nods of recognition. He also nails the self-aware jokes, with his titty-wobble issues and an accent you wouldn't trust in a bank advert.

But not everything lands. The structure is rather slapdash, bouncing between anecdotes and asides, with some material feeling lazy and dated. Repeated mother-in-law jokes and a few punchlines of “pussyyy” in a high voice have the depth and consideration of Wetherspoons banter. Worse still is the misjudged routine on Greta Thunberg, consisting of a screwed-up face and a strained “how dare you”. With no actual gag, the impression just comes across as mocking. Not offensive as such, just poor. Then again, some in the audience found it hilarious; each to their own.

Beckett ends with a hysterical demonstration of his body’s biggest secret. No spoilers, but you’ll certainly keep a close eye on his clothing next time he’s on TV. It’s a great finish to a show that’s probably a strong hour, but a rather flabby 90 minutes. 


Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.