Reviewer: Dave Cunnningham
The title of Chris Ramsey’s new show gives a good indication of the intended target audience and the likely nature of the material. The Just Happy To Get out Of The House Tour sounds like it is aimed at people who are so devoted to their families or careers that they really don’t get the chance to relax and take in a show as often as they would like. On the other hand it might refer to Chris Ramsey’s attitude to his home life as the show is determinedly old-school and largely concerns the comedian moaning about his relationship with his wife and child.
Having entered by stepping out of an inflatable house Ramsey follows the traditional opening routine of chatting with the audience. It is an approach that shows his strengths, as Ramsey seems genuinely interested in the responses to his questions while also being capable of pushing them into comedic areas. Upon learning that one respondent is a radiographer he demands to know why they always leave the room when x-rays are taken: ‘Don’t you want superpowers?’
Chris Ramsey is an anecdotal comedian and, apart from the opening and a brief snippet on how he messed up his audition for the film War Horse, the entire show is devoted to his complaining about irritating habits of his wife and his son’s disturbing behaviour. It has been a long time since comedians felt comfortable moaning about their spouses but the show does not feel dated, mainly because Ramsey picks very modern examples about which to complain.
Ramsey presents himself as being out of step with the middle-class aspirations of his wife without actually articulating the opinion out loud. He is permanently baffled by the need for gentrifications such as orangeries. One might imagine that the subject matter would be of limited appeal to audiences yet, although The Lowry is situated in an inner-city area, many patrons are clearly able to relate to Ramsey’s irritation with slow cookers and his wife’s inability to correctly load a dishwasher. Ramsey presents himself as being a reasonable person comically baffled by the inability of his family to conform to acceptable standards. Of course, the fact that he picks such trivial matters about which to obsess shows he is anything but reasonable.
A reflective tone develops towards the end of The Just Happy To Get out Of The House Tour as Ramsey recalls the relief he experienced when his father received the all-clear after treatment for cancer and draws the various elements of the show together to consider why he feels obliged to respond to any emotional crisis with a joke.
The Just Happy To Get out Of The House Tour could not be considered cutting-edge but Ramsey’s warm and sympathetic style of presentation widens the appeal of subjects that might seem to be of concern only to the middle-class to ensure that everyone leaves the theatre a lot happier than they entered.
Reviewed on 22 July 2018 | Image: Contributed