Review – Micky Flanagan, The Back in the Game Tour, Derngate, Northampton, 23rd May 2013

Micky FlanaganThis was one of those shows you had to book months in advance to secure your ticket. Micky Flanagan is a big name off the telly, but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that. But as you might know, gentle reader, Mrs Chrisparkle and I don’t tend to watch the box much and I don’t think we’ve ever really seen Mr Flanagan before. Well, it’s definitely our loss, as he’s completely brilliant on stage.

He is so natural; this does not feel like an act, just like a guy you would meet down the pub telling you about his life, his wife, his family, his job; there’s nothing remotely pretentious or surreal, all his stories are situations with which everyone can identify. And his material is absolutely first rate. Mrs C thought he was possibly the most consistently funny stand-up throughout the whole routine that she’s ever seen. For me I think only Jason Byrne gives him a run for his money.

Back in the GameThere’s no supporting act – just two and a bit hours of Mr Flanagan walking back and forward across the stage, tugging occasionally uncomfortably at the microphone lead to give him a clear path, a bit like a caged lion in the zoo, but with no sense of the stress that the caged lion might feel. He’s immensely relaxed, which puts the audience at ease too, and you never get that edgy feel – you don’t need it – that he might suddenly pick on someone. He’s much too kind for that. His routine is clearly 100% scripted; when people arrive late and leave to go to the loo he just carries on. His material follows on so naturally that reacting to the audience would only interrupt the flow. Normally I like it when a comic breaks off to talk to the audience, but in his case, he knows precisely how best to deliver his act, at his own pace.

M FlanaganDuring the course of the evening we learned the differences between a girls’ night in and a boys’ night out, the addictiveness of speaking African, and the irrepressible joy of stealing sandwiches. He explored these topics in an incredibly funny and inventive way. There’s a wonderful sequence about weddings that takes you from receiving the invitation in the post to a really embarrassing conversation with the vicar after the service. There’s a brilliant routine about having your prostate tickled – by the doctor, I should add – and some wonderful stuff about – and there’s no polite way of putting this – wondering who might or might not be up for wanking you off, and the subsequent benefits of that same kind gesture.

It’s all done with a superb lightness of touch, and whilst there’s a lot of adult material there, it never comes across as offensive, only extremely funny. He sold out last time he was here, he sold out this time. He has a few more dates in London next week then he’s back on the road in September. Absolutely not to be missed!