Dylan Moran: Yeah, Yeah, Hexagon, Reading

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The Independent Culture

The raffish Dylan Moran has, in recent years, dismissed those who have suggested that certain subjects should be off limits to comedy, stressing that stock targets such as the differences between men and women are there to be reinvented. He's right, of course, but watching him tonight I am very conscious of the reinvention rota that seems to have characterised his work over the last few years.

Simply put, Moran's message is delivered with broad big-picture strokes covering politics and religion (e.g. Syrian protesters with mobile phones point to pictures of countries where they would not be beaten up and ask "can we have some of that?") while the smaller picture is provided with observations first about his immediate surroundings ("Reading is not a bad place," he tells us – after all, in Hull, you can see "children peeling off and eating bits of their own face") and then the likely attitudes of his English audience towards their closest neighbours ("you think that the Welsh are inbred, maudlin people, liable to break into song at any moment.")

A closing joke about the youth of doctors – Moran wants his medics to have "beards that could nest a family of barn owls" – reinforces the feeling of formula, since jibes at the medical profession have been closers on previous shows.

What is different is the tenor; the Irishman is much more sermon-like in his delivery, easily winning the battle to make the audience comfortable with his silences and the double-edge of his pejorative attitude.

Fittingly, it is the theme of the difference between men and women, the shtick his detractors have been most critical of, that provides a unifying theme binding big and small-picture material. One delicious example casts all women as Mary Shelley and all men as the beast (Frankenstein), playing this out as a husband grunting at his wife as she explains to him who he likes and doesn't like at a forthcoming dinner party that she, of course, has arranged.

Other tasty turns of phrase liken the way young people dance to being Tasered and compare male genitalia to dictators, and while Yeah, Yeah is slightly less impressive than previous outings in terms of the artistry on offer, compared to other touring shows it is in a class of its own.

Touring to 15 July ( www.dylanmoran.com)