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Frank Skinner: Man in a Suit | reviews, news & interviews

Frank Skinner: Man in a Suit

Frank Skinner: Man in a Suit

Welcome return to stand-up after six years

Frank Skinner riffs on popcorn, relationships and nasal sex

Six years away from live comedy (save for a couple of outings as MC for mixed-bill shows) haven't blunted Frank Skinner's stand-up skills. He's still an accomplished gag writer and performer, and his quick-witted comic's brain is, as ever, much in evidence in Man in a Suit at Soho Theatre in London.

He riffs on any number of things in a show of wide-ranging subject matter of observational comedy – everything from going grey to wearing brogues, relationships to the sexual semiotics of popcorn – and one that appears to have little by way of a narrative thread, but which however does have lots of clever callbacks.

"I used to be filth from start to finish," Skinner says towards the end of the show, but most of what has preceded is tame enough to take your proverbial maiden aunt to – allowing for some cleverly worded knob gags and subtle references to sex. But maybe age (he's 56) and fatherhood have tempered his outlook – he even shares a couple of his haikus with us, for goodness sake.

But he's not quite the choirboy yet as he shares his tips on how lazy middle-aged lovers might spare some energy while performing cunnilingus by using their nose instead of their tongue. It's another neatly constructed gag and, rarely during this show, one with a slam-dunk payoff, for much of Man in a Suit meanders – pleasantly enough – before ending with an aside or a chuckle rather than a punchline.

The show's title (and he is indeed dressed in a very smart whistle) leads to a long section about the nature of fame, when we can assess Skinner's place in the pantheon – somewhere between the woman who gained brief notoriety after putting a cat in a wheelie bin, up to the global icon Madonna. He has 90 suits, he says, many of them freebies gained from the television shows he has done, such as Room 101, and he was recently disposing of some of them. But is he famous enough to warrant an Elton John-style auction, or should they go to the local charity shop, to be sold anonymously and thereby make less money for Oxfam?

Most of the belly laughs of the evening came from his chats with the audience, when his caustic put-downs and self-deprecating remarks produced some zingers. There's a moment when the show could move from the everyday to something deeper, when he mentions his Catholicism, but Skinner says he won't do material about that as he thinks it wouldn't go down too well. That's a shame, as he's a bright guy with an original take on lots of subjects and, with the election of Pope Francis, this is an interesting time to examine modern Catholicism.

But maybe that's the next show. In the meantime, this is 90 minutes of mostly inoffensive fun.

  • Frank Skinner is at Soho Theatre, London W1 until 23 November; then at Leicester Square Theatre, London WC2 21 January-22 February 2014

The show's title leads to a long section about the nature of fame


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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