Tim Vine, Soho Theatre, London

3.00

For those who know Tim Vine as a comedy-circuit regular, or from ITV's
The Sketch Show, which boasted Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais among its production credits, the idea of him holding his own for an hour on stage might seem unlikely, risky even.

For those who know Tim Vine as a comedy-circuit regular, or from ITV's The Sketch Show, which boasted Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais among its production credits, the idea of him holding his own for an hour on stage might seem unlikely, risky even. Surely the self-styled "joke machine-gun" would run out of bullets, or at least start missing their intended targets?

Fortunately for Vine, even if some bullets go astray, many of his gags remain funny on repeated hearing. Well, they say the old ones are the best. For testimony to just how old-style his material is, look no further than the story of how some of his material found its way on to the internet credited to Tommy Cooper, no doubt flattering and frustrating for Vine at the same time. Indeed, if you crossed his material with the body of his colleague on The Sketch Show, Jim Tavaré, you would get a Tommy Cooper tribute act.

As with Cooper, Vine's gags are timeless in that they are puns on everyday situations, as well as being inoffensive and uncontroversial. But with Vine, the gags have go-faster stripes. "You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said, 'Parking Fine'. So that was nice." Even better if he can get two bites at the cherry: "So I went down my local ice-cream shop, and said, 'I want to buy an ice cream'. He said, 'Hundreds & thousands?' I said, 'We'll start with one.' He said, 'Knickerbocker glory?' I said, 'I do get a certain amount of freedom in these trousers, yes.' "

So well honed is his act that any deviation from the order of it is cause for mirth. "Ad- libbing is not one of my strengths," Vine - who is the brother of the broadcaster Jeremy - admits to the audience. Fixing his smile, he paces within his triangular stage domain, which is mapped out by a box full of visual aids, a guitar and a keyboard. The musical content is largely there to give a different medium for the puns (eg, a song entitled "She's Leaving on the QE2" is just a foghorn tone), but there are inevitably filler ditties that are barely worthy of a Phoebe Buffay set at Central Perk.

My heart habitually sinks when I see a musical instrument on stage at a comedy gig, and only rarely are the two successfully married. Of course, with Vine, even the fillers are fast, and so unwelcome intrusions are brief and forgotten quickly, although the messy ending could do with a rapid- fire execution.

It's all good clean fun, and in fact the show's time slot seems a little incongruous - this is more 3.30pm than 9.30pm entertainment. In terms of consistency, he is hard to beat. Tonight, the rat-a-tat-tat of his machine-gun is accompanied by a continuous wave of laughter.

Tour continues to 22 May ( www.boundandgaggedcomedy.com)

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor