wed 29/05/2024

Andrew Maxwell, Soho Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Andrew Maxwell, Soho Theatre

Andrew Maxwell, Soho Theatre

Engaging storytelling from the Irish comic

Andrew Maxwell is an astute people-watcher

When Andrew Maxwell premiered Banana Kingdom at the Edinburgh Fringe earlier this year, its title made a lot more sense. The show was a coruscating examination of what Scotland might be if the independence vote next September goes Alex Salmond's way; a tiny nation trying to go it alone at a time when the rest of Europe wants to be an even bigger - and of course happier - family.

At the start of his run at the Soho Theatre, however, the Irishman tells us he has reworked the show, jettisoning much of the Scottish content because he felt it wasn't relevant to London audiences. I rather think he's mistaken, as Scottish independence is a major UK issue, and Soho audiences are surely sophisticated enough both to understand and be interested in a live political debate.

But no matter, as he fills in the gaps with more of his wonderfully engaging comedy, much of it political. Maxwell is also an astute people-watcher and he makes much more of his audience here - the presence of French, Australian and American fans in the room elicits some decent riffs on different attitudes to life, climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge and travelling through the States.

Essentially it's an hour of great storytelling and he covers a lot of ground, from trying to shock Norwegian audiences, the ethics of recycling, London geezers, and how the Crusades affect his sex life. There are some neatly self-deprecating lines, too. Talking about London's gentrification, he says: "I'm the last scumbag on my road."

There are times, though, when the hour feels slightly lacking in focus, and the comic's interactions with the audience lead to a fair bit of meandering and an occasional dip in pace. But all in all, it's a thoroughly enjoyable evening spent in fine company.

  • Andrew Maxwell at Soho Theatre, London W1 until 10 November
Maxwell is an astute people-watcher and he makes much of his audience here


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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