tue 21/01/2020

Comedy Reviews

Ricky Gervais, Touring review - chatty and relaxed riffing

Veronica Lee

Ricky Gervais enters the stage after recordings of some the great (and not so great) men of history – including Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King and Adolf Hitler. And then there's a portentous introduction – are we then going to hear some deep philosophical insights tonight? Well not so much, more chatty and relaxed riffing, with some of his most personal material yet.

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Ayesha Hazarika, Soho Theatre review - 'politics is her patch'

Veronica Lee

What a day to open your political stand-up show, entitled State of the Nation, a few hours after Theresa May had announced a snap election.

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Our Friend Victoria review – Victoria Wood’s genius is irreplaceable

Jasper Rees

In the closing credits of Acorn Antiques, wobbling diagonally across the screen, it says the part of Berta was taken by “Victoria Woods”. Has there ever been a lovelier, truer typo? There was only one Victoria Wood, and yet she seemed somehow to be plural.

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Russell Howard, Touring - 'the passion and anger are real'

Veronica Lee

Russell Howard is in typically chipper form, and so he should be. Dismissed by some at the start of his career as just one of the slew of beige twenty-something blokes emerging in stand-up in the Noughties, he has built a solid television career and a huge stand-up following.

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Peter Kay's Dance for Life, Ricoh Arena Coventry

Veronica Lee

Peter Kay’s love  and extensive knowledge  of pop music is well known. He has often spoofed misheard song lyrics in his shows, and has released various charity singles over the years.

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Miles Jupp, London Palladium

Veronica Lee

Miles Jupp starts by telling us he’s trying to fathom the kind of comic he should be, after he overheard a comment by an audience member at a show on his previous tour: he was nice, the man proffered, but what he said had taken him by surprise. So should Jupp now be full and malice and predictable?

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The UK Pun Championships, Leicester Comedy Festival

Veronica Lee

The UK Pun Championships have quickly become a fixture of the Leicester Comedy Festival, and this year the organisers installed a boxing ring at De Montfort Hall to underline the event's competitive element.

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Suzi Ruffell, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Suzi Ruffell tells it straight: she's working-class and proud, but some people might think she's "common", which is the show's title. She has devised a quick quiz for us to check if we're working-class ourselves, and among the amusing tell-tale signs is: did your mum use to freeze milk? A new one on me, but the show is off to a good start.

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Chris Gethard, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Comedy fans will be familiar with "New York neurotic" – performed mostly by Jewish writers and comics, with Woody Allen being the exemplar. Chris Gethard, however, is from New Jersey, was raised as a Catholic and is not neurotic at all.

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Mr Swallow - Houdini, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Nick Mohammed doesn't do things by halves as his chatty airhead alter ego Mr Swallow. Forget the scholarly approach of finely researched biographies of Harry Houdini (“boring!”); his “first-ever entirely true auto-biopic” of the magician and escapologist comes complete with conjuring tricks, song-and-dance numbers and a whole lot of laughs.

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