"Normally, I'm a comedian; now, I'm a king, so if you don't laugh, it's treason."
"Normally, I'm a comedian; now, I'm a king, so if you don't laugh, it's treason." Andrew Maxwell's opening milked his recent success on Channel 4's reality show Kings of Comedy. His three-date run at The Marquee celebrated that success and gave Londoners a brief glimpse of what they missed in Edinburgh this year.
It's worth repeating, especially with the gift of hindsight, that This Is My Hour, a well-paced and well-crafted show, was a strong candidate for the Perrier award. But this outing in a more unpredictable venue tested the gentle thread that holds it together. By and large, it came out unscathed. A persistent heckler did rock the boat, and not even a nice line about his fellow Kings of Comedy contestant Stan Boardman ("Try living with an elderly Scouse comedian for a month and you can come up on stage!") could quell it sufficiently. Consequently, some passages and punchlines were lost, including a section comparing European indifference to the threat of alien invasion with American paranoia on the subject. Luckily for some of tonight's audience, which included one of his many friends and fans in the comedy world, Brendan Burns, we could fill in the gaps.
With no room even to travel about on his trademark toy tricycle, the youthful Irish comedian took his time to take the audience on a slightly disjointed journey through fun, fears and dilemmas, remaining calm and engaging at all times even when he was blown off course by exuberant punters endemic in the West End. Though eloquent, Maxwell can play the lads as well as the gents, and perhaps just as well when Loaded magazine is one of the evening's supporters.
A crowd-pleasing exaggerated caricature of a Texan George Bush-supporter displeased one man in the audience when Maxwell found out the plaintiff was Canadian he lost no time in making hay with another stereotype. However, Maxwell isn't just effective with a blunt instrument, as can be heard, for example, when he builds a good argument as to why Evangelical Americans would loathe Jesus were he to make it back for the second coming.
Sometimes rasping in a manner reminiscent of Bono, sometimes rather more high-pitched, Maxwell's vocal dexterity travels all over the globe, whether it be Americans, Cockneys on hijacked charter flights or even fictitious Serbians. Meanwhile his bellowing Henry VIII meets R Kelly is a joy to behold and deserved to be hammed up even more.
For the more recently crowned Maxwell, tonight's gig was, by his own admission, a ramshackle affair. The heckler who wouldn't lie down, or more importantly shut up, didn't add value to the gig and it had to go down as a "weird one", though Maxwell varied his approach using techniques he has learnt since he first took to the stage at the age of 18 at a club run by Ardal O'Hanlon. Versatility is one of Maxwell's strong points and, while tonight's effort was a three-star affair, the man hailed as the future of Irish comedy by The Irish Times has plenty to look forward to, as do his audiences.
Touring to 23 December (020-7240 2248; www.andrew-maxwell.com)