sat 13/07/2024

Frank Skinner, Leicester Square Theatre - mixing some acid with the charm | reviews, news & interviews

Frank Skinner, Leicester Square Theatre - mixing some acid with the charm

Frank Skinner, Leicester Square Theatre - mixing some acid with the charm

Preamble to autumn tour works a treat

Frank Skinner, a comic happy in his own skin

Frank Skinner walks onstage without introduction and a man in the audience gives him a friendly heckle by way of greeting. Skinner is straight on it, engaging him in a brief conversation; his responses are amiable enough but have a few barbs too.

That's a Skinner hallmark: his smiley demeanour suggests a bloke you might have a nice chat with, but he doesn't suffer fools. And if the comic does less stand-up than broadcasting these days (his last new show was four years ago), he hasn't lost the art of the sly putdown.

This hour-long set is a sort of preamble to his longer touring show, Showbiz, which starts in the autumn, and it serves as a pleasant amuse bouche. Skinner drops a few names and tells a cracking anecdote about national treasure Sir Bruce Forsyth and his association with the London Palladium (while getting in a neat humblebrag, too, telling us he has also played the huge theatre).

One section of the show is about age and of possibly retiring (not that he will). Skinner tells how he and Jack Whitehall worked on a show together when they both had bad backs, but while the younger comic talked of drunken excess leading to a foolish act of devilment, Skinner says resignedly: “When you get old the injuries don't come with an anecdote.”

Skinner's conversational style is easy on the ear, and he has a lovely turn of phrase – a joke about the old, disappearing Soho in London is described as “sex-industry-based nostalgia” – but he often upends a story by swerving in an unexpected direction. A gag ostensibly about Brexit is in fact a way into a friendly put-down of his old friend and former comedy partner David Baddiel.

The stories neatly segue from a mention of his young son to the joy of changing nappies, from Skinner appearing on Strictly Come Dancing (he has been asked but said no) to the curse of Tutankhamun and from his disappearing libido to explaining to youngsters how big “The Rowing Boat Song” was to his generation.

There's nothing deep here, but enough acid in the charm to give the material real comedic edge. He's a comic happy in his own skin, and confident enough in his command of the stage to digress, go down cul-de-sacs or to meander to the end of a gag rather than deliver a boom-boom punchline. And, this being a Frank Skinner show, there's some filth, too, and he ends the show with a clever callback. Roll on the tour.

  • Frank Skinner is at Leicester Square Theatre, London until 27 July



Skinner's conversational style is easy on the ear and he has a lovely turn of phrase


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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'Callbacks', or what have always been known as 'running jokes'.

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