Reviewer: Matt Forrest
It has been famously said that “You should never meet your heroes”, well in the case of Manchester comic and footy fan Alex Boardman, not only did he meet his hero, he was the opening act! I am of course referring to Eric Cantona, who in February of this year sold out four shows at the Lowry and also provides Boardman the basis for his stand-up show: What Eric Said.
Boardman sets the stage as this being a modern day fairy tale, with him in the lead, what follows is an hour routine taking in the trappings of being 44-year-old man, the perils of Amsterdam and of course a spot of football to boot, all building up to the meeting between Boardman and Cantona.
Boardman has a likable, cheeky, delivery despite some of the near the knuckle material – very reminiscent of that friend everyone has that can make everyone laugh before just over stepping the mark and somehow only just managing to reign it before it goes too far.
You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy the show as there is something for everyone: as you would expect it is very football orientated, however not so much focusing on the football today, but more a nostalgic look at what made the young Boardman become such devoted Manchester United fan, stand out moments include a look at Roy of the Rovers: the much loved and sadly missed comic-book. Who knew that Roy Race managed to play with some of the greats of the game: Bob Wilson, Emlyn Hughes and of course Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet? In addition, there is a game of Panini (not the deli favourite) or murderer: where Boardman shows us an image of 70s/80s footballer and we guess if he played football, committed a crime or in some cases both – it is a lot trickier than it sounds and the format will surely be picked up by a satellite channel very soon.
When not discussing football, Boardman plays it safe discussing comedy staples such as being middle-aged and the dos and don’ts of shopping in a certain German supermarket. They don’t offer anything ground breaking but are certainly well observed and fun.
The show closes with the meeting between Boardman and Cantona which provides a brief insight into the mind of the Gallic god. As Boardman stated at the beginning it’s a modern day fairy tale; there was no happy ever after, but everyone left with a smile on their face.
Special mention to the opening act for the evening Chris Kehoe who managed to warm up the crowd, with a blend of surreal and political humour: stand out moments included a spot of Romanian observational comedy and the harsh treatment of spiders in the British press. Kehoe took his time to get the crowd on side however once his routine was in full flow it was silly, highly original and certainly had something about the brexit and racism in the UK.
Overall this was a fun night of comedy that left everyone entertained. If it were a game of football it wouldn’t be the first match on Match of the Day, but it would surely be the second!
Reviewed 6 September 2017 | Image: contributed