sun 22/09/2019

Seann Walsh, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City review - Strictly's bad boy tells his story | reviews, news & interviews

Seann Walsh, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City review - Strictly's bad boy tells his story

Seann Walsh, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City review - Strictly's bad boy tells his story

Ramifications of being caught in a tabloid storm

Seann Walsh dishes some delicious backstage gossip, but also talks about the emotional toll of his experience

Let's start with that kiss – the one that propelled Seann Walsh from “Who?” in last year's Strictly Come Dancing line-up to being the “bad boy” of the series after pictures of his drunken late-night clinch with Katya Jones, his married professional dance partner, appeared in the tabloids.

The title, After This One, I'm Going Home, is a nod to the laddish behaviour that many of Walsh’s previous shows have recounted and which – who knows – might have been useful advice to take earlier on the evening in question. Actually, the title and the tour were planned before he signed his Strictly contract; fortuitously, they have given him so much more material, and a large chunk of the show is about the incident and its ramifications.

“I was the most hated comedian in the country,” Walsh contends, a little vaingloriously. Most hated? Nah, perhaps more a case of people thinking he was a bit of a pillock for cheating on his long-term partner.

What about the comedy? Walsh, who has been a stand-up for more than a decade, delivers some of the most biographical material I have heard him do yet – about his father, his childhood ambition to be a comic and the hours he spent playing football with the local lads.

And by way of explaining why he, a terrible dancer, took the Strictly gig, Walsh gives us a potted history of his career. Not for the first time in the show, he doesn’t spare himself. He had, he says, wasted so many opportunities to have the TV career he wanted, but immaturity and an innate ability “to fuck it up” blew them all. There is, though, no false contrition here, more an authentic examination of where he has gone wrong, and how he needs to put some things right in the #MeToo era.

He tells a few deliciously gossipy backstage anecdotes, but can turn from silly to serious in the space of a sentence as we hear of the emotional toll it took on him. Having a panic attack, he explains for the uninitiated, is “like the feeling you get when you lose your phone”.

I had never been a fan previously, finding a lot of Walsh’s material anodyne and his stage persona rather boorish. But one story he tells, about how at one point he used to write material as if in the voice of a comic he admires (complete with a spot-on impersonation), is a revelation: his talent was never to be doubted, but Walsh, we now realise, was not always speaking in his own voice. Boy, has he found it now.

The pace of the show is uneven, one or two stories go on too long, and I don’t think it’s fair that he talks about his ex-girlfriend, but Walsh gives a vivid account of what it’s like to be caught in a tabloid storm.

  • Seann Walsh is touring until 9 July
One story he tells is a revelation

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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