Rob Brydon – Festival Theatre

I want to start by saying I love Rob Brydon. Like, as a reviewer you have to at least try to remain impartial, but I properly love Rob Brydon. Marion and Geoff was great, The Trip is incredible; I really like most of Rob Brydon’s work. Just … not this show.

Seeing Brydon live is a warm, personable experience, but not the most interesting. Much of the show tended to skew towards crowd work, which started off strongly, but left you feeling like you were constantly waiting to get to the actual material. Singing happy birthday to an audience member, or asking the audience to divide themselves into young and old felt more like the work of a gameshow host, or a family entertainer at a resort hotel in the south of Spain.

This did, however, lead into some actual material about aging, very much in the angry old man vein. Whilst this led to some amusing lines (Ed Sheeran being blamed as a bad influence stands out here, but that may be personal prejudice), much of it felt tired. Blaming rap music for corrupting the youth was being done thirty years ago by a certain fatherly American comic that we no longer name, and it barely felt fresh then. I accept that much of this is aimed towards his admittedly greyer-streaked audience members, of which there was a majority, but I am reviewing for Young Perspective here, so I feel entitled to be slighted.

That’s not to say there weren’t some true stand-out moments; his range of impressions always impresses (even if ‘I was doing…’ starts to grate after the tenth outing), and a finale involving an Elvis number felt like it finally justified the size of the theatre we were in.

Essentially, if you are a Brydon fan you might find this an amusing, if rarely laugh-out-loud evening, and I am sure you would enjoy indulging in the Q&A sessions. However, as far as stand-up comedy goes, this hour from a national treasure left more than a little bit to be desired.

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Scott Redmond

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