Comedy Les Patterson Whitehall Theatre, London

If character comedy is the new vogue in stand-up, then its eager exponents should take a night off from their Edinburgh rehearsals, whip out an exercise book and get down to Whitehall for a Barry Humphries masterclass. There they will find Humphries holding court with his lesser-known but equally sublime creation, Dr Sir Lesley Colin Patterson, Australia's Cultural Attache to the Court of St James and mutant scatological half-brother of Dame Edna Everage.

Patterson's appearance and mannerisms, never mind the material, show the attention to detail of near-perfect characterisation. The tan and cream lace-up four-inch platforms, the electric pink socks, the Oxfam- reject sky-blue Terylene flares, complete with strategic Camembert stains, flapping heroically at his ankles, the orange, brown and yellow diagonal- striped kipper tie resting proudly on his straining gut; and then, the crowning glory, that monstrous face, its sweat-dripping dewlap and rouge- smeared cheeks framing a set of gnashers alarming enough to make Janet Street-Porter a cover girl for Dentist Monthly. Slopping Chardonnay on to his platforms, he hitches up a leg in an exaggerated rearrangement of his tackle before indulging in a long, hard anal scratch, eyes upturned in ecstasy, a loop of drool suspended from his chin. If Spitting Image attempted to caricature him, there'd be no room for manoeuvre.

The principal worry beforehand was that Sir Les, hitherto a 20-minute warm-up act for Dame Edna, might peak prematurely and fail to stay the full 90 minutes. But some song and prancing with his research assistants, the Lesettes ("a smorgasbord of hornbags and ceiling inspectors"), a string of bewitching anecdotes, and a high intensity of gag-fire banished any fears, underlining the gulf between an old pro like Humphries and the class of '96. (Perhaps the only current creations fit to lick the stains off Patterson's suit trousers are Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge and Paul Calf, both monsters themselves.)

Saliva showers apart, the front row got off lightly. Sir Les is a far more demanding character to perform than Dame Edna, which is perhaps why he opted for less audience interaction than the housewife superstar. But with a script this good, it didn't matter. Traditionally, eloquence and filth are total strangers on the comedy stage (cf Roy Chubby Brown, Jim Davidson, anything blue at the end of a pier near you this summer), the four-letter outburst simply replacing the need for humour, so it comes as a delight to tune into Humphries's inventive brand of lyrical obscenity.

In a sketch entitled "The Critics", Peter Cook and Dudley Moore once lamented the critical lambasting meted out to their lavatorial alter-egos, Derek and Clive. "A prick in the hands of Pinter," Cook reasoned somewhat bitterly, "is a punctuation point, a marvellous moment, an epithet, the end of an extremely witty line; whereas a prick in the hands of Cook and Moore is just a gratuitous prick... one feels it's being abused." With Patterson, however, the characterisation is so triumphal, gratuitousness never enters the critical equation. Not that he'd ever call a prick a prick when he could refer to it as "the old walloper" or "the pigskin bus".

n 'Les Patterson has a Stand-Up', Whitehall Theatre, London SW1 (0171- 369 1735) to Sat

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas