Venue: Comedy Arena
Reviewer: Fergus Morgan
From Keighley to Kent, Carlisle to Cornwall, Mark Steel clearly has a deep knowledge of this green and pleasant land. That much is obvious. His 45-minute slot in Latitude’s comedy tent is essentially a middle-aged man’s diffuse ramblings on the state of the post-Brexit nation, the state of the English football team, and the state of his cup of tea.
And although Latitude is riddled with lazy comedians getting cheap cheers for voting Remain, Steel’s slanted political commentary still feels fresh and cutting. Perhaps it’s because he has a deeper understanding of our divided Britain, having spent the last seven years touring the country with his Radio 4 show Mark Steel’s In Town, or perhaps it is because his socialist sympathies stray even further to the left than those of Latitude’s core clientele, but for whatever reason, there is still an edge here.
His set, a brilliantly funny mix of anecdotes, observational comedy, and socio-political satire, largely focusses on the various eccentricities and irrationalities of British society. From chippy football fans in Stockwell pubs to apologetic Belfast bus conductors, from prehistoric Suffolk farmers to poncy Stratfordians quoting Shakespeare, he squeezes in a panoramic slice of this Sceptred Isle, accents and foibles and all. It’s Britain’s Greatest Hits – the bizarre, b-side version. And it’s hilarious.