Soho Theatre, London

Comedy review: Joe Lycett: If Joe Lycett Then You Should Have Put A Ring On It

2.00

 

Last year a frivolous, flawed, but loveable debut hour show, Some Lycett Hot, secured 24-year-old Joe Lycett a nomination for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Lycett's follow up show again brings the big puns out, but suffers from its unashamedly effete approach.

Convivial and charming, Lycett spends a while mapping out his audience tonight, investing a bit more time than perhaps necessary in cultivating their interest.

“Anyone for a Twirl?” he asks, deciding to share with us the sweet treats a family sitting on the front row have brought. It's a phrase that carries extra comedic weight from the camp comic, who demonstrates flourishing turns-of-phrase every so often - of Marks and Spencer's 'Fuller for Longer' range he remarks: “it sounds like the name of a Bond girl.”

Claiming a “naughty and nice” disposition, Lycett then takes us through examples of this through various alter egos, one derived from an encounter with a spiritual healer, others are spurious online creations.

The examples are conveyed in a mix of elements including short anecdotes (varying in their believability), concocted complaint letters, and a rather lamentable game show conceit.

More than anything it is Lycett's skills as a writer that are exhibited by this unsatisfactory melange. A complaint letter to mobile phone provider EE threatens to “destroy your business and the career of [their poster boy] Kevin Bacon.” It's ludicrous stuff, but as prepared pieces these sequences don't really enhance Lycett's skills as a performer. Ultimately they are scrapbook items that could please on the page better - or as effectively as - on the stage.

Despite the loose naughty versus nice premise, Lycett's set-pieces don't relate well to each other either. The aforementioned game show is the worst offender, being partly a cursory attempt to look at what society considers as 'gay', but more an arbitrary guessing game that the audience don't really care about. The impetus for this routine is Lycett's bisexuality, but, as with his first show, he hasn't quite honed his shtick on it yet.

Starting a little late and finishing early, Lycett's show runs to closer to 45 minutes than an hour, a telling sign. During the curtailed set it feels that there is a lot of padding in action. It's true that there is a generous amount of personality on offer too, but charm alone is not enough to allow the eponymous ring to go full circle.

Until November 14; www.joelycettcomedy.co.uk

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