Review – 100% Simon Brodkin – Troublemaker, Underground at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton, 16th October 2021

TroublemakerAt some point in the murky interregnum between Lockdown 1.0 and the present day, Simon Brodkin’s new tour was re-named Troublemaker, from its original title of 100% Simon Brodkin. Either title is good; they both sum up different aspects of the show that sold out at the Royal and Derngate on Saturday with the result that they popped in a 5pm show as well. The man is obviously doing something right.

Formerly better known as his chav character Lee Nelson, today Simon Brodkin is probably more recognisable for his stunts which you can find all over the Internet; showering Sepp Blatter with money, fitting a VW at the Geneva motor show with a cheat box, offering Theresa May a P45. He’s clearly a mischievous little imp, so I thought it was about time we saw him for ourselves. This show was originally scheduled for 25th April 2020. As I’ve said before, and no doubt I’ll say again, good things are worth waiting for.

Simon-BrodkinFor someone with a reputation as a naughty prankster, when he first comes on stage, you’re a bit surprised as to how ordinary he looks. No doubt that really helps him get into high security areas without causing any suspicion. With his black T-shirt, smiling face, clean-cut appearance, he looks like a polite and hard-working undermanager at your local Co-op. But that belies a brilliant mine of original material that frequently dallies with some pretty tricky subjects.

He starts the show by getting to know the front rows of the audience; always a risky business and you sensed that he wasn’t entirely sure what he would do if any of the audience turned difficult! But they didn’t and it wasn’t long before Mr B was in his stride with a very enjoyable and cleverly constructed show.

Outed by the KKK as a Jew – although he says he already knew – he has some fantastic and inventive material from a Jewish perspective – including how no one knows fear like a Jewish boy telling his mother he’s going to give up being a doctor to go into comedy. Mind you, he confesses, he was a dreadful doctor and it was obviously a good career change!

Simon BrodkinIn the course of the show, not only does he give us some insights into those famous stunts, but he also explores what life would be like if you were cryogenically frozen and came back in 200 years time, having to look after the kids when his wife was away for a week, a brilliant put-down of the protesting parents who don’t want their kids to learn about LGBT rights, how well you know your best friend; and there’s also a new definition of Pooh-sticks to contend with.

To be fair, it’s a fairly brief show, with two forty-minute chunks of Mr Brodkin and a comfortable interval in between. But it’s absolutely packed with laughs and I was surprised and impressed at how good he is! His tour carries on into December but with a few extra dates in the new year too. Well worth catching!

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