Tuesday 27th September

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Rhys James: Wiseboy review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

A sharply written tongue-in-cheek take on white privilege from the young master of pithy comedy.

Anyone following Rhys James on Twitter will attest that few comedians package their observational comedy quite so pithily.  While some complain how social media’s devalued the profession, opening the door for the world and its dog to dabble in satire, the Mock The Week occasional uses it to hone his retorts on big news items and day-to-day occurrences – essential panel show practice.  These skills translate to his live material, with 2016 show Forgives being one the tightest-written around.  And in Wiseboy, the son of Harpenden delivers another densely-packed show ironically bemoaning his comfortable, privileged existence.

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Category: Comedy
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Russell Howard: Round The World review

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Last week, Russell Howard beat the record held by Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow by performing for ten consecutive nights at a packed Royal Albert Hall.  Before Howard’s Round The World Tour moved on to the rest of the UK and Ireland, Ian Cater reviewed what turned out to be ‘a very entertaining and uplifting evening’.

Russell Howard is quite rightly one of Britain’s most successful comedians, using his ‘everyman’ likability and unashamed positivity to pack arenas like this one night after night.  But that success has come at a cost.  In recent years, some have become snide about his act – not least Stewart Lee, whose on-stage comedy policeman lays charge after charge at Howard’s door in his current Content Provider show.

Some of that may be justified: by taking the big bucks on offer from first the BBC and now Sky, and having the nerve to promulgate upbeat messages, Howard’s opened himself up to a slice of the cynicism his own brand of comedy usually avoids.  However, a lot of it is unfair, especially when he delivers such a well-balanced set as this, shining a light on British society’s problems but refusing to wallow in them.

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Category: Comedy
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Rhys James: “Who wants to hear the political opinions of a 25-year-old who’s never experienced anything?”

Tomorrow night, Rhys James brings his latest show – Forgives – to Soho Theatre for five nights.  The young stand-up, labelled ‘one to watch’ for a while and now featuring regularly on comedy vehicles like Mock The Week, delivers an impressive show full of great jokes, call-backs and over-privileged angst.  Ahead of the Soho run, Ian Cater caught up with him to discuss Russell Brand, poetry and raccoons.

Rhys James is unexpectedly enjoyable to interview.  At least as funny as he seems on-stage, he’s also relaxed, open and self-aware.  In short, a little different to the young man I saw performing Forgives at the Edinburgh Fringe last year.

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Category: Comedy
Ed Byrne - Outside Looking In

Ed Byrne: ‘Outside Looking In’ at Leicester Square Theatre, 10-11 June

Rating:

Irish comedian, actor and voice-over artist Ed Byrne ends his latest UK stand-up tour – Outside Looking In – this week in London at Leicester Square Theatre.  Shannon Rawlins went along to see him in action and reported back for What’s On London.

Having never seen Ed Byrne live before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  As Byrne opened his gig by telling us all to expect “the same old shit”, I was still in the dark.  However, for the following 110 minutes I found myself pleasantly surprised with what the 43 year old Irish comic had to offer.  Throughout Outside Looking In, I was engaged, entertained and enlightened.

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Category: Comedy
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Andy Parsons: ‘Slacktivist Action Group’ Live

Rating:

By Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Last year, comedian Andy Parsons ended his ten-year association with Mock The Week to launch the Slacktivist Action Group.  The show aims to debate the issues affecting us all and explore whether significant change can be made by well-meaning but – in essence – slacker activists.

What’s On London attended the recording of February’s episode – the fourth in the series – to see Parsons and his panel in action.  Ian Cater then spoke to him to find out what prompted this move into more important, but less mainstream, matters.

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Category: Comedy