Reviewer: Dave Cunningham
The Lowry has made an effort to accommodate comedian Micky Flanagan . A space normally used as an arts studio has been turned into a nightclub complete with a bar and the audience seated around tables rather than theatre style in rows. Unfortunately the rectangular shape of the room leaves some people a bit isolated and Flanagan seems uncomfortable entering and exiting through the crowd.
Micky Flanagan transcends his professional cockney/ working class stage persona with material that has great insight whilst still being bloody funny. His cockney accent is obvious but his delivery is surprisingly camp.
In the opening parts of the show Flanagan looks back at his early life. Unlike fellow comic Pater Kay, who views the past through cosy rose-coloured glasses, the nostalgia that Flanagan feels has a sour taste. He looks back on his origins with a complete absence of illusions. School was not a place for aspirations. Only dreamers dared hope to work driving a van; realists knew they were destined to go no further than loading the vehicle. Flanagan’s father was an opportunistic criminal so that young Micky often awoke to find he was sharing his bedroom with a couple of dozen half-inched Hoovers.
Part of the act is a comparison between acceptable behaviour in the past and present. Flanagan deconstructs Eric Clapton’s ‘ Wonderful Tonight’ to take the audience back to a time when men ruled the earth and could command women to dress to their whims and remain sober enough to drive them back from parties.
The show is less successful when Flanagan turns to the present day. Stereotypes and celebrities are tackled but not in a way that is particularly original. Only a suggestion that the rise in teenage pregnancies can be attributed to the fine art of fingering having been forgotten touches the dark humour of the earlier part of the show.
If Flanagan can develop his act and turn his perceptive humour on the present as well as the past there will be no stopping him.