Jon Richardson, Apollo Theatre, London
Richardson has a lot to get off his chest. Dirty skirting boards, children’s artistic ineptitude, olives – life is just one hardship after the next for the Lancastrian comic, whose latest show feels more like a therapy session than a stand-up set.
The 8 Out of 10 Cats team captain and Stand up for the Week host undeniably has flashes of brilliance, but these tend to feel lost under the ever spewing displeasure he takes in, well, everything. When Richardson hits his stride, he is confident and engaging, titillating the crowd with tales of heart orgasms and misplaced chakras.
It is moments like these, where the anecdotes foray into wacky, untrodden territory, that cement his status as Channel 4’s diminutive darling. But then comes a tirade about his housemates’ inability to recycle cardboard, and it becomes hard to differentiate him from that miserly cousin twice removed who sits in the corner at family reunions kicking the dog.
Neuroses can and do make for good material, but the gripes are too drawn out to sustain the audience’s interest. Richardson’s extensive idiosyncrasies are a regular feature of his work, and his recent documentary A Little Bit OCD scratched beneath the surface of what is clearly a very personal and pervasive issue.
His current approach to these concerns in his set, though, feels less like poking fun at his habits, more reeling off his biggest domestic bug bears in a number of strange voices. The scope for laughs is not fully realised, and an overly long rant about correctly arranging the knife drawer fails to reach the comedic heights that he is evidently capable of.
After resolutely deciding that trying hard in his twenties was a waste of time, and that taking a stand against social issues is futile, it is no wonder we are left with a series of kitchen complaints and stale musings on hitting the big 3-0. When Richardson betrays these inclinations, however, he is devilishly funny, and his modern reimagining of well-worn fairy tales (where Prince Charming is impressed by Cinderella’s mammaries, but not her lowly status) is among his best work.
This, and his failed attempts at feminism, are real crowd-pleasers, but they do not feel long enough to savour before the humour returns to the anxious and adolescent. Richardson is certainly a talented performer, but for a man obsessed with perfection, there is still some way to go.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre