Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Review: Stewart Francis ‘Pun Gent’ at Ipswich Corn Exchange, February 10

19:21 11 February 2016

Comedian Stewart Francis, at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, February 24

Comedian Stewart Francis, at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, February 24

Archant

“Nine of diamonds. Sorry, my mind is playing tricks with me.”

Within seconds of sauntering on to the stage, poker-faced (sorry) Canadian comic Stewart Francis had the old Ipswich Corn Exchange grand hall echoing with laughter.

But we weren’t expecting anything else from one of the best in the business. His gags are varied and creative, intellectual and not signposted. They are based on current events and simple wordplay, but can also involve physical comedy. This results in a significant payoff for the audience.

But the night began with the dreaded, unknown warm-up. This Wednesday night crowd took a long time to thaw out and become responsive, and fellow Canadian Allyson June Smith did an adequate job in facilitating this.

Her best joke involved lampooning Britney Spears. She compared her singing to a chipmunk suffering an asthma attack, and then performed a sustained impression of this.

She got some sections of the audience going. But I noticed, rather awkwardly, that after around 15 minutes myself and the guy sat next to me had not laughed once.

This all changed after the interval and the emergence of the headline act, though. I have loved his witty one-liners made famous on several television programmes over the last five years or so, and this was the first time I had seen him live.

He did not disappoint. His one-liners are superbly crafted and well-timed. His parents are British and he is clearly well tuned-in to the notorious British psyche and sense of humour. Although I was disappointed pretty much no-one got his Leslie Nielsen Airplane reference of “Shirley/surely”. Stewart, if you’re reading, I got it, and loved it. I love it! (That’s a Naked Gun reference).

He told 12, 24, 36 – dozens of jokes – and changed his pace and altered his volume at appropriate times. He mentioned attending a reunion for Vietnam vets in his usual sober and measured tone, but then shouted when pointing to a member of the audience: “YOU WEREN’T THERE MAN! YOU WEREN’T THERE!” It was superb.

He even danced to The Stylistics, when he pretended to be under the illusion he was dancing and singing along to The Four Tops. A large projector screen behind him informed us it was The Stylistics. The screen was also used to parody the likes of Russell Brand and, to some dismay, Stephen Fry. Does he really use his superior intellect to shame us?

When he occasionally flirted with controversial topics such as gang rapes and paedophilia, the innocent essence and tone he adopts meant it was okay to laugh without being afflicted by sharp pains of guilt. This distinguishes him from contemporaries and out-of-favour comedians clinging on to 1970s fame.

He finished strong and justified his billing. I would be very interested to see him interact with the audience more, like Al Murray. When he did, like with “New York guy”, he seemed very relaxed and confident, and funny of course.

So well done Stewart Francis for living up to my expectations and livening up our Wednesday night with your Pun Gent show – his third tour of the UK. Although I won’t be going to India any time soon (you’ll have to buy his DVD to find out why).

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

The Stowmarket town sign.

One woman has been arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage following the incident last night.

Aerial shots of Ipswich Waterfront - courtesy of www.skycameast.co.uk

A deer that was trapped underneath a wooden structure near Ipswich Waterfront has been rescued.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

A number of trains – starting with the 16.00 Colchester Town to Colchester – have been terminated or cancelled this afternoon due to a member of train crew being unavailable.

The A14 near Stowupland

A crash involving two vehicles blocked the eastbound A14 at Stowmarket earlier this afternoon.

Trail makers are needed to keep an eye on the pigs during the summer months

Friendly faces are needed to greet visitors to Ipswich this summer and ensure the interactive Pigs Gone Wild trail is a success.

Firefighters from Colchester were called to a blaze on a boat.

Two fire crews from Colchester were called to a boat moored on the quay in the town after reports of a fire on Saturday morning.

Clacton lifeboat was launched during the drama at the pier.

All four emergency services were called to a drama on Clacton Pier on Friday afternoon when someone was seen sitting on the wrong side of the fence.

The site earmarked for 175 homes in Stowupland.

The approval of 175 homes on the edge of a Suffolk village has prompted fears that planning shortfalls highlighted in the decision could leave more communities at risk from “predatory” applications.

Mark Newton has been appointed the new chairman of Suffolk Coastal District Council

A district council has appointed its new chairman.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24