Comedy Mark Little Sucks The Alban Arena, St Albans
Thursday 19 October 1995
Having got Neighbours out of his system, he was free to get on with establishing his new identity as an observational stand-up - and a pretty good one, at that. As with all the best members of comedy's Ramblers' Association - Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard - Little doesn't really talk about anything; you would be hard pressed afterwards to recall a single story. Little's knack is to construct a comic picture by scribbling madly all over a blank page. He certainly looked comic, walking on stage to the sound of music from Pulp Fiction in sun-glasses, a baggy white suit, a loud Hawaiian shirt and sandals. Pre-empting criticism, he laughed at himself: "Good God, what have I come as? A Colombian crack dealer?" He also gained mileage from the set - a spoof artistic installation comprising a duvet hanging from a rail, a duvet in a glass case and a TV set suspended in a fishing- net. The chief function of all this seemed to be as a comedy mallet with which to bash Damien Hirst.
Frequently popping pills from a "Prozac Tree" at the side of the stage, Little extolled the drug's virtues: "You're so happy, you can watch bloody Bosnia and tape it." He was at his best, though, in unscripted moments. When he was getting interference on his microphone, he called out to the soundman, "Quick, there's a pelican trapped in the ceiling." Finally defeated by gremlins, he asked, "Can we turn this off? I'm just gonna project like Kenneth Branagh." He put down a gaggle of unintelligible hecklers as a Norwegian clown troupe, and became exasperated by the feebleness of audience- suggestions for his act: "Ah, the state of the nation. We have an opportunity to talk about whatever we like, and all you can say is 'pants' and 'haircuts'. " Near the end, he contemplated the fact that politics has largely gone out of stand-up. "Now it's just people wandering around doing a bit of comedy and seeing if they can get a beer out of it." And it's all the better for it.
n Mark Little Sucks continues a national tour until 18 Nov. Details: 0171-734 2840
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
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