Review: Russell Howard, Ipswich Regent, February 14

Comedian Russell Howard. Photo: David Venni

Comedian Russell Howard. Photo: David Venni - Credit: Archant

Honestly, I’m a bit confused. I thought this gig was a work in progress, a warm-up for Round The World, his largest tour yet. It felt more like the tour had already started.

It didn’t matter, we and the sold-out audience were laughing start to finish. A fan of his Good News show, I’d never seen Howard live before. I’d happily see him again.

Asking the Valentine’s Day crowd could they not get in for Fifty Shades Darker, he was very appreciative of those who packed into the theatre; enjoying the energy they brought. The place was heaving and everybody seemed set to have a great time.

Howard started on the Ipswich accent and even tried to do his own version. Instead the Bristol native sounded like he was back home. Somebody in the audience shouted out “think farmer”. It didn’t help much.

There’s no shortage of material for comedians right now. It was no surprise the gags were very topical and politically motivated. Brexit and Theresa May sucking up to US President Donald Trump loomed large. Howard was really angry at Nigel Farage, who came in for a particularly rough time; not that anybody minded.

Feeling we needed to cull the number of “beige” idiots in the world, the overriding feel of the show was how great the British public were. It was about people; with lots of silly family stories and some very deep, moving moments too. Especially about his late grandfather.

Saying he was raised by lunatics - his mum keeps a hula hoop under the sofa so every time she feels sad she can get it out and have a little dance - he wasn’t afraid to make fun of himself.

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I loved the story about how he eventually snapped at people taking pictures of him while he waited for a train; only to be told he was standing next to a Pokemon.

Support act Roy Rogers - yes, really - had the audience onside quickly. Even the member who claimed they weren’t late, he was early.

Alison Savage

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