ComedyNorth WestReviewStand Up

Josh Widdicombe: What Do I Do Now –The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Matt Forrest

It’s been a very good year for Josh Widdicombe with appearances on Have I Got News for You, and several slots on Mock the Week. Countless more radio and TV appearances, and even his own sitcom: Josh, on BBC 3, you would think Widdicombe would have something to smile about, well think again. It seems the trappings of modern life and a childhood of growing up on Dartmoor, has left him with an axe to grind, which is the basis for his latest stand up tour Josh Widdicombe: What Do I Do Now…

However, before, Widdicombe we are treated to a 20 minute set from the Eton educated Ivo Graham. Graham regales us with tales about the perils of going on holiday with ones parents to the South of France, with only episodes of TV cop show Lewis, and the card game Uno for entertainment. Also in the firing line is his time at Eton, and its links to our current Prime Minister, and certain pork based revelations. Graham is a charming, confident comic, who gets the audience suitably warmed up for the main event.

Widdicombe ends the first half with a mini 20minute set, engaging the typical patter, of those brave souls unfortunate to have bought front row tickets. My own home town of Warrington comes in for some flack, but we’ll let that slide, as Widdicombe is handed comedy gold by his unsuspecting ‘victims’, as we find out about the production of caravan stickers and the construction of a canoeing lane, from Liverpool to Goole. Widdicombe surely couldn’t believe his luck and masterly uses these early Christmas presents to loosen the crowd up for his main show.

What Do I Do Now… is really set into two parts, the first consisting of a well pitched rant at modern life, contactless debit cards and the pitfalls of travelling on sleeper trains come under the micro-scope, as well his concerns about flying. It’s fun to see Widdicombe fain distain, as his pitch gets higher, the more ‘outraged’ he becomes. He has a warm, friendly familiarity to him which makes, it seem like one of your mates down the pub, who likes a moan from time to time. Thus makes his rants all the more engaging and captivating, it’s amazing how the majority of the time Widdicombe remains so straight-faced (there are a few breaks in there but he can be forgiven for that.)

The second half consists of a comparison between Widdicombe’s life growing up as 10 year-old growing up in Dartmoor, and that of 15 year-old audience member. Widdicombe’s self-deprecation of his younger self is a joy to see, as we earn about his cabin bed and the filofax. This section is more a nostalgia trip, as reminders of brilliant yet incredibly naff, Crystal Maze, and the lack of use for a Bunsen burner in adult life, as Widdicombe concludes his younger version of himself was defiantly not as cool as the young audience member.

This was a fun well-crafted show. Good natured, and inoffensive, you can’t help but be bowled over by Widdicombe’s charm and mock annoyance with the world. Maybe one day he will find ‘peace’ with the world, but I really hope he doesn’t!

Reviewed on 8 December 2015

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