sun 23/02/2020

Comedy Reviews

Hannah Gadsby, Royal Festival Hall review - simply magnificent

Veronica Lee

It's a wonderful thing when a talented comic goes from niche performer to international star almost overnight, and that's what happened to Australian stand-up Hannah Gadsby. In 2017, she announced that her award-winning Edinburgh Fringe show, Nanette, was to be her last as she felt ground down after a decade in a misogynistic and homophobic industry.

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Elf Lyons, Komedia, Brighton review - bonkers, brilliant and a bit of bare bum

Katie Colombus

Elf Lyons’ new show, Love Songs To Guinea Pigs, has moved away from her usual slapstick and absurdist mimicry into new realms of traditional stand up. She cites the reason as being unable to do mime on the radio, but there’s a more serious reason for the switch.

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

Owen Richards

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.

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Eddie Izzard, Brighton Dome review - splendidly surreal storytelling

Veronica Lee

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 politics.

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

Owen Richards

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 whimsical anecdotes that made him a star, but he now has bigger foils than his own family.

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

Veronica Lee

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...

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Count Arthur Strong, Leeds City Varieties review - stargazing and mangled syntax

Veronica Lee

Count Arthur Strong, the character created by Steve Delaney, started life in the late 1990s and  became a cult figure at the Edinburgh Fringe over several years. Radio shows and three series of a television sitcom (written with Graham Linehan) followed and now he’s taking the character back on the road with Is There Anybody Out There?

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Brydon, Mack and Mitchell, Portsmouth Guildhall review - family-friendly fun

Veronica Lee

Rob Brydon, Lee Mack and David Mitchell are the host and team captains respectively of Would I Lie to You?, the long-running BBC One panel game. Now they are touring together in Town to Town, which is family-friendly fun (with occasional naughtiness from the delightfully sweary Mack).

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Romesh Ranganathan, Brighton Dome review - transgressive, edgy and very likeable

Thomas H Green

One question springs immediately to mind on hearing that Romesh Ranganathan’s new stand-up show, The Cynic’s Mixtape, is touring: how does he find the time? Ranganathan has overtaken Jack Whitehall as Britain’s most media ubiquitous comic, with a deluge of TV shows and appearances, a column in the Guardian newspaper and even a recent autobiography.

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Sofie Hagen, Soho Theatre review - sex weekend in Swansea, anyone?

Veronica Lee

Memory is a funny thing: it can get you through exams; it can comfort you or distress you; it can last a lifetime or go in an instant. In Sofie Hagen's case, her idiosyncratic one has provided material for her new show Bumswing, which started life at the Edinburgh Fringe and is now at Soho Theatre.

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