Reviewer: Rebecca Cohen
Manchester comedian and actor Justin Moorhouse is back on the road again with his latest stand-up tour People and Feelings – his most recent pitstop landing him on home ground at The Lowry, in Salford. As always, Moorhouse ensures there are no barriers in his material and stays true to the Northern comedy stereotype of being brash, bold and entirely boisterous.
To begin the evening’s entertainment is Danny McLoughlin, who fans will have seen in previous Moorhouse shows. It is a fun warm-up that gets the audience in the right mood, and while not side-splitting funny it certainly entertains with McLoughlin’s reciting of kebab tales, his working class upbringing, and a hilarious finale about his Uncle Rasputin. He is most definitely one to look out for on the comedy circuit and is a great addition to the night’s show.
Following a 15 minute interlude, Moorhouse enters the stage in true ‘boyish’ fashion, ringing a bell, shouting and, as he admits, annoying everybody to get them on the same page. It can only get better, he says. And, give him his due, he’s right.
This is a performance that is full of stereotypical northern humour, Moorhouse never shying away from the crude or taboo topics – from racism to homophobia, he covers them all. He maintains a strong connection with the audience throughout, going back to targeted members at opportune moments for added comic value and proving his talents go beyond his written script. As with any stand-up set, it is purely subjective and for anybody that finds themselves easily offended or cringing at non-PC talk then maybe this isn’t the right show for them.
The positives said, his style is extremely shouty, and while this suits his admissions of being in a mid-life crisis, having a generally grumpy persona, and his despair at the mollycoddling of today’s youngsters, it does sometimes tire. More dynamics in his voice, and more of a play with pace in his delivery, would add another layer of humour to his performance and would help to distinguish whether the audience are meant to be laughing or just listening to a general rant about life.
More content in the early stages of his set would also take his show up a notch and provide more of those crucial laugh out loud moments. While the ideas are there, his gags sometimes drag on longer than they need to – the first piece about ‘other comedians’ and how he won’t follow the same formulaic approach being funny at first, but losing its momentum after a while.
That said, this is a fun night out – not one to put you in a festive mood, but a good mood nonetheless. It is great to see a Manchester lad, who started his comedic career at Oldham Street’s Frog and Bucket, headlining his own tour and while you may not be aching with laughter in his latest offering, you will certainly leave with a smile on your face.
Reviewed on 11 December 2016.