sun 05/07/2020

Comedy Reviews

Omid Djalili, Touring

Veronica Lee

After a busy few years away from stand-up – although never off our film and television screens – Omid Djalili bounds back on stage for his new show, Tour of Duty, and as one of our more intelligent and thoughtful comics, he's welcome back. The show, which I saw at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking, has a high political content and much to recommend it, even if at times it feels like a work-in-progress.

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Russell Kane, Touring

Veronica Lee

There's nothing like winning a gong to rock your world. Last August, Russell Kane won the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award for his Fringe show and his level of celebrity skyrocketed. But within a few months his marriage broke down - and the resulting introspection provided the starting point for a very fine show, Manscaping, which I saw at the Palace Theatre in Westcliff-on-Sea.

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Dave Gorman, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

Following a rejuvenating foray back to his one-man-with-a-mike stand-up roots throughout 2009 and 2010, this summer Dave Gorman returned to the Edinburgh Fringe after an eight-year absence to launch Dave Gorman's PowerPoint Presentation.

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Angie Le Mar, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Angie Le Mar, who recently celebrated 25 years in showbusiness, has certainly packed a lot into her life; she's a comic, writer, director, radio presenter and producer, and now has written and performs In My Shoes, her new one-woman show (directed by Femi Elufowoju), a collection of six interwoven characters.

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Doctor Brown, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Clowning, despite its association with great funnymen such as Joseph Grimaldi and Charlie Chaplin, has always had a dark underside of melancholy or even menace. More latterly it has been thought of in terms of “low” arts such as circus and street theatre, and so it perhaps shouldn't come as a surprise that fear of clowns, coulrophobia, is in the Top 10 list of phobias, up there with spiders, enclosed spaces and vomiting.

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Show Me the Funny Live, touring

Veronica Lee

The people behind ITV's Show Me the Funny – a sort of X Factor for comics – have, as part of the prize for those who reached last month's final, launched a short UK tour for its winner, Patrick Monahan, and the two runners-up, Tiffany Stevenson and Dan Mitchell.

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Alan Carr, touring

Veronica Lee

It has been four years since Alan Carr toured with a live show, and he's been much missed from the circuit. From his first appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe when he entertained audiences with tales of his past life as a call-centre worker and being the woefully non-sporty son of a football-manager father, he was destined for stardom.

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Lee Evans, Wembley Arena

Jasper Rees

Not everyone likes Lee Evans and his bespoke brand of simian gurning and jerky rubberised motion. But he is very much to the taste of a majority of the comedy-going classes. Few other stand-ups – you can count them on one hand – could spend a season touring the UK’s soulless edge-of-town arenas and not have to worry about performing to empty banks of raised seating. Evans tore into two sets of an hour each last night at Wembley Arena without, apparently, a thought of conserving any energy...

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Stephen Merchant, Reading Hexagon

Veronica Lee

Stephen Merchant has played the sleeping partner for so long in his professional relationship with Ricky Gervais that it was perhaps inevitable he would address the issue at the top of the show. The good thing about going on tour, apart from meeting ladies, is, he says, that he doesn't have to share the profits with "you know who".

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Outnumbered, Series Four, BBC One

howard Male

From the long shot of the suburban London semis onwards, I couldn’t help but think of the 1960s BBC sitcom Not in Front of the Children which similarly focused on a middle-class couple with three children. There’s no laughter track on Outnumbered but there’s also no escaping the fact that - apart from a colourful new range of insults the kids casually fire at each other (“numb-chuck”, “toss-piece”) - this could easily be one of Wendy Craig’s naughty but nice TV families,...

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