wed 22/01/2020

standup comedy

Frank Skinner, Garrick Theatre review - a masterclass in owning the room

When Frank Skinner did a London run of new material last year, the show was billed as a taster of a longer touring version. I wrote then that the show whetted my appetite for more, and I'm glad to say that the updated version, Showbiz, which now has...

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Leicester Comedy Festival Gala Preview Show, De Montfort Hall review - mixed bag in mixed bill

A mixed bill rarely pleases all comedy tastes – whether in style or content – and so it proved at the launch of the Leicester Comedy Festival, which starts next month. In a line-up of eight comics that had few star names, the best came last – but...

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Andy Parsons, Stamford Corn Exchange review - politics and the art of persuasion

Andy Parsons is a comic known to like a good old rant, particularly on a political issue. But in Healing the Nation he takes a calmer, more conversational approach as he tries to do what it says on the tin in a show that he fully expected to be...

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Jack Whitehall, O2 Arena - a mix of posh and puerile

Jack Whitehall is hardly ever off the telly, appearing on gameshows or jollying around with his father, Michael, presenting the BRIT Awards and proving to be a decent actor in dramas such as Decline and Fall. But now he's gone back to live comedy...

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Ivo Graham: The Game of Life, Soho Theatre review - privilege and parenting

Ivo Graham's latest show The Game of Life follows on from his previous hour, in which he talked about passing a milestone in life and the prospect of starting a family. Now he is a dad, and uses domestic detail as the starting point for some fine...

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Jack Dee, Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage review - now he really is a grumpy old man

Jack Dee has made a career out of being a grumpy old man, even though he started on the comedy circuit in 1986 when he was 25. Back then, his dour, seen-it-all-and-not-impressed material was wonderfully at at odds not just with his age but also the...

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Tim Minchin, Eventim Apollo review - fabulous triumph of rhyme and reason

Is there anything Tim Minchin cannot do? He sings his own songs, plays hot bar-room piano and tells jokes about the existence of God. He composes musicals, performs in Lloyd Webber and Stoppard, writes a multimillion-dollar Hollywood cartoon which...

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Ben Elton, Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall review - magnificent return to stand-up

It has been 15 years since Ben Elton, known as Motormouth in his 1980s heyday – last toured. A decade-and-a-half ago, one of the instigators of alternative comedy tells us at the top of the show, he could have still passed muster as young or cool....

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

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...

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Eddie Izzard, Brighton Dome review - splendidly surreal storytelling

Eddie Izzard is dressed in a killer outfit of black leather jacket, tartan mini-kilt, thigh-length stiletto boots – and false boobs. “I got them at IKEA,” he deadpans. He’s in jovial form for Wunderbar, his farewell tour before he hopes to enter...

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Russell Howard, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena review - a return with bite

It’s been two years since Russell Howard last performed stand-up. That’s a long gap for such an established fixture of British comedy. As he points out, the world has changed, something reflected in his new show Respite. There are still the...

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Ed Byrne, Berry Theatre, Hedge End review - musing on middle-age angst

Ed Byrne's new show takes a philosophical bent as he muses on middle age and fatherhood. But don't worry, he's not getting soft at the age of 47 – he's as sarcastic, caustic and self-deprecating as ever in If I'm Honest...He starts by telling us how...

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