Reviewer: Luke Walker
The Public Reviews Rating:
“You’re going to see who? Never heard of him” was the response I got when expressing what my evening’s entertainment was going to be – quickly followed by “Oh … him. I know who you mean” on showing a picture of “him” – Josh Widdicombe. If you’re a fan of the comedy panel shows Widdicombe is a regular face as well as writer for shows like Mock the Week and Eight Out of Ten Cats as well as performing on Live at the Apollo and Stand Up for the Week. If you’re not a fan of those shows you may have seen him recently win an awful lot of money for his chosen charity on The Million Pound Drop.
TV appearances aside Josh has recently had a successful run at this year’s Edinburgh festival and now tours his show. Unlike other comedians who play Edinburgh, Widdicombe’s show has no ‘agenda’ or shoe-horned premise. It is over an hour of belly laughs that come thick and fast.
Currently being staged at The Lowry is the Library Theatre’s production of The Heretic hence there is a set comprising of a stylish kitchen occupying the Quays Theatre’s stage. For any good comedian this is comedy gold and Widdicombe exploits it to its maximum potential. The first ten minutes of the show was, quite literally, housekeeping as he explored the set, discovering a prop pizza in the oven and milk in the fridge over three weeks out of date.
When finally the material takes over we are treated to a slick hour of what he self-confesses to be ‘what’s that all about’ comedy. The oddities of the everyday world are explored and ridiculed – such as the point books in Wetherspoons pubs, survey taking cash points, cereal variety packs, the usefulness of napkins, the lifespan of the i-phone and the bizarre concept behind Cluedo. Nothing new in comedy but Widdecombe delivers his jokes with such well-crafted flair the full theatre rocked with laughter.
Judging by the “new bits” in the encore Widdicombe’s next show will be just as good. You may well know his face but not his name now but that will surely change very soon.