James Rampton on comedy

24Seven
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He may have cooked up a whole new audience with Chef, but Lenny Henry still seems happiest going live. Think of the joy he demonstrated doing a Riverdance-style jig in an Irish theatre for Comic Relief last year. This week he returns to his stand-up roots (don't forget, he made his name doing Frank Spencer impersonations on New Faces) with his first live tour for some years. Any rustiness should be more than compensated for by his sheer exuberance on stage. "Why do you think Linford Christie runs so fast?", he asks. "To get away from his mum - [breaking into a broad Jamaican accent] 'Come back here and put some bloody underpants on'." An immensely likeable stand-up, he exudes a similar sense of pleasure when he dons the huge gold medallion to play the spoof soul singer Theophilus P Wildebeeste. "Do you have any Jamaican in you?", he asks the audience, who are whooping wildly in anticipation of the punchline. "You want some?" This is a man who for once lives up to his billing: the tour is going under the title of "Larger Than Life".

Lenny Henry plays Grimsby Auditorium (01472 311311) tonight; Stoke on Trent Burslem Queens Theatre (01782 207777) tomorrow; Glasgow Pavillion (0141 332 1846) Sun; Inverness Eden Court Theatre (01463 234234) Mon; Aberdeen His Majesty's Theatre (01224 641122) Tue; Southport Theatre (01704 540404) Thur

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