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Jonathan Pie: Back To The Studio review

| Comedy | 16/03/2018

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Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer and Reviewer

Tom Walker serves up another superb blend of well-informed political analysis, hard truths, gratuitous swearing and guilty laughs

As revealed here last week, Tom Walker has bigger plans for his comedy creation, Jonathan Pie, than the three-minute clips he gifts to the world each week.  And in his second full-length show, Walker shows that Pie is well and truly cut out for a longer format.

Walker’s first show – Jonathan Pie Live – was a toe in the sitcom water for the Alan Partridge aficionado, showing Pie flailing in light entertainment before gradually unravelling rage at his collapsing marriage and being prevented from saying what he really thinks on TV.  But in Pie’s current incarnation – Back To The Studio – some of that frustration’s alleviated by fronting a ‘dry run’ of his own Political Roadshow, giving him the perfect platform to spout his views on what’s wrong with the world.  All he thinks he need do to impress the onlooking TV execs is flick two fingers up at the political establishment – within reason – and style out the amateurish jingles straight from Mid Morning Matters.

The Tories initially hog the spotlight, with Pie delivering a slightly predictable critique of Theresa May before deconstructing Michael Gove’s comments on university education with a clever homage to Monty Python’s “What have the Romans ever done for us?”  And despite promising to restrict his swearing to “two fucks and a handful of shits”, that inevitably goes out the window when he moves onto Donald Trump.

But the Tory and Trump bashing is merely the warm-up for the main event: Pie’s take on modern day obsessions with social media and elevating causing offence to a quasi-criminal act.  As with Ricky Gervais’ Humanity, Pie does an excellent job emphasising the irrelevance of most moral outrage and exposing its fickle nature.  And in an intelligent, calmer monologue, he highlights the danger of the Left shutting down arguments, concluding that “Martin Luther King’s dream is being pissed on by well-meaning liberals.”

Although Walker’s careful to punctuate his serious points with humour – invariably reaching for a crude simile or graphic metaphor – this section risks evoking many more nods of agreement than roars of laughter.  But he finishes strongly, engineering an amusing twist that torpedoes Pie’s hope for his show being commissioned while throwing off the shackles to let him say what he really thinks about Brexit and white male privilege in an angry crescendo.

All in all, it’s an impressive, pacey turn, with the opinionated reporter managing to offend both everyone and no-one at once.  Not for the faint hearted or closed minded, but a funny and thought-provoking performance for everyone else.

Tom Walker was performing as Jonathan Pie in ‘Back To The Studio’ at St Albans’ Alban Arena on 14th March.  For information on the remaining tour dates across the UK, head to Pie’s official website or follow him on Twitter @JonathanPieNews.

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