sun 19/09/2021

Comedy Reviews

The One Griff Rhys Jones, BBC One

Jasper Rees

What’s the opposite of a pilot? Griff Rhys Jones has not performed in a comedic capacity for nearly a decade and a half. When he did, he was always part of a larger company – first Not the Nine O’Clock News, then for 14 years in a partnership with Mel Smith. There must be a reason why he never struck out on his own.

Read more...

Simon Munnery, Soho Theatre

Kate Bassett

Bubbles are emanating from Simon Munnery's head. They're streaming out of a huge, black stovepipe hat which he has cobbled together from cardboard and sticky tape. He has also slung an electric guitar over his shoulder as he sidles up to the mic to begin Hats Off to the 101ers, and Other Material. What does he look like? A cranky mishmash. Kids' entertainer or mad Victorian undertaker?

Read more...

2011: Tinker Tailor Minchin Sheen

Jasper Rees

On Easter Monday, as the sun came down over the sea, a crowd of 15,000 – it’s not quite right to call them theatre-goers – followed Michael Sheen as he dragged a cross to Port Talbot’s own version of Golgotha, a traffic island hard by Parc Hollywood. The culmination of a three-day epic, The Passion of Port Talbot was street storytelling at its most transformative.

Read more...

2011: Morrissey, Manics and the Resurrection Shuffle

Bruce Dessau

I have always fought hard to resist nostalgia, but 2011 was the year when I succumbed. Maybe the present – and the future – was just too awful to contemplate, but I found myself constantly looking back. Whether it was onstage, onscreen or on a hand-held device the past seemed to provide the requisite cultural comfort food. Dessau Towers remains a dubstep-free zone.

Read more...

Dick Whittington, New Wimbledon Theatre

David Nice

You know what to expect from an audience with Dame Edna Everage. The London-loving Merry Widow of Moonie Ponds can be trusted to hurl her gladdies, patronise the paups in the cheap seats, dish out tough love to a lesser suburban housewife and lead a paean to her "niceness". But this is not a panto which simply grovels at the feet of her colonial highness.

Read more...

Set List, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Every year at the Edinburgh Fringe there's a sleeper hit, or a show that promises little on paper but delivers big time in the flesh, and this year's unexpected success was Set List, a kind of improv for stand-ups, which has also been called “comedy without a net” or “like flying without wings”.

Read more...

Stewart Lee, Leicester Square Theatre

Jasper Rees

Stewart Lee is in Eeyorish mood. The BBC have not yet got round to recommissioning his acclaimed television show. They have been more bountiful, he grumbles, with Russell Howard, and you can hear the older man’s withering scorn for the younger, blonder cherub contractually obliged never to step away from the cameras. On the plus side, he is in residence at this cosy but capacious theatre until February, a booking that only the promise of television audiences can gift.

Read more...

Richard Herring, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee

Those of a certain vintage will know Richard Herring's irreverent comedy best from his BBC television work with erstwhile partner Stewart Lee - including Fist of Fun (1995-96) and This Morning with Richard Not Judy (1998-99) - while newer fans will be familiar with his radio work and podcasts.

Read more...

Sarah Millican, Touring

Veronica Lee

In an age when comics are doing shows with theatrical content or presented with a degree of technological sophistication, and they appear on stage expensively coiffed and suited, it's refreshing to spend an evening in Sarah Millican's company, whose show at times feels like we're having a chat over the garden wall. It's also pleasing that someone who just a few years ago was a jobbing club comic is now enjoying the sort of success her talent so richly deserves.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Reissue CDs Weekly: Help Yourself - Passing Through, The Com...

“Reaffirmation” is the sound of a San Francisco ballroom in 1968. The 12-minute long track opens mysteriously with what might be a Mellotron on...

Podium odes to joy: conductors at the 2021 BBC Proms

They must have been especially overjoyed to be back in front of (or with back to the greater part of) a live audience. But inspiring musicians is...

Rose Plays Julie review - a sombre story of rape, adoption a...

Rose (Ann Skelly; The Nevers) is adopted. The name on her birth certificate is Julie and the possibility of a different identity –...

The Magic Flute, Royal Opera review - all but a guarantee of...

Rarely has the revolving door of opera twirled so efficiently. David...

Album: Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine - A Beginner...

For those amongst you who listened obsessively to the soundtrack of Call Me By Your Name, the idea of an album by cult...

Hofesh Shechter Company, Double Murder, Sadler's Wells...

If I had to sum up in a single impression the work I’ve seen of Brighton-based, Israeli-born choreographer...

The Starling, Netflix review - a slender idea unsatisfyingly...

Despite an alluring cast which includes Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Kevin Kline, The Starling is doomed to be remembered, if at...

Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty, Dulwich Picture Gallery...

When you stand in front of Helen Frankenthaler’s Freefall, 1993, in your mind you drop into its gorgeous, blue abyss. It is enveloping,...

Album: Lil Nas X - Montero

Lil Nas X is good at being a pop star. Like, what could pop culture need more than a young, flamboyant, witty gay rapper from the deep south who...