Review – Chris Addison, Derngate, Northampton, 23rd February 2012

Chris AddisonMrs Chrisparkle and I only know Chris Addison from his appearances on “Have I Got News For You”, where he always seems a nicely brought up young man, and, as niece Special Agent N exclaimed as she pointed to his poster outside the theatre, “it’s the man from the Direct Line adverts!” He is also in “The Thick Of It” but that programme and I have never been in the same room together. I guess the range of his TV appearances accounts for the very wide range of clientele seeing his stand-up show; very young people mixed with very old people, and even a few in between.

I’m pleased to say he’s very very funny indeed; highly political, but with great observations on those stupid aspects of life we all encounter but out of which we can’t quite make our own comic material. He’s very extravert too – having seen Jeremy Hardy a few weeks ago, they make an interesting comparison; a lot of their material shares a common, left-wing, ground, highlighting the dangers of sleepwalking into a right wing utopia. But whereas Mr Hardy is quietly wry, the electric charge that emanates from Mr Addison could turn all the Northampton street lights back on. He can’t stop his nervous energy as he bounces around the stage – a genuinely unstoppable movement unlike, say, Michael McIntyre’s deliberate skipping. You feel that new ideas and observations occur to him all the time and he will happily go down endless tangential routes exploring what’s funny there before returning to his main theme. It’s a very enjoyable joint voyage of discovery.

He reacts well with the audience, at one point engaging them to share in the lies they have told their children (or the lies they were told as children), which winkled out the entertaining tale of a local couple who convinced their daughter of the existence of uphill and downhill sheep – you could tell which they were by whether their front legs or back legs were shorter. Apparently this poor woman was 22 when she realised it wasn’t true.

With many incisive observations about class – from a comic who clearly adopts a middle-class stance – everyone can readily associate themselves with his material; from the times when everyone groups together to witness the riots on TV, but which then turns into a wine and cheese party; to the nimbies who do a 180 degree turn on their principles if the word Waitrose is mentioned.

Two and a quarter hours packed with enlightening and very funny stuff. Great entertainment! He seems to be constantly touring, so no reason to miss out on seeing him.

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