ComedyFeaturedReviewSouth East

Latitude Festival: Jonathan Pie – Comedy Stage

Creator: Tom Walker

Reviewer: Simon Topping

Bursting onto stage red-faced and raging from the start, Jonathan Pie barely takes a breath as he launches into his first tirade of a short 40-minute set.

The creation of Tom Walker, Pie, a fictitious news reporter of no fixed channel, has become a YouTube sensation in the past year or two, gaining millions of views and great acclaim. The short videos online are of Pie, “off camera” in between takes ranting to an unseen producer in the studio on all manner of current affairs topics including Trump, the Tories, the sad state of the NHS and the liberal elite. What the crowd get here is all the best of the web rants with a scrap or two extra for a live audience.

A polarising character, Pie divides opinion and confuses some onlookers who are watching for the first time not quite sure what they have randomly come to see. Quite often Pie is mistaken for a real person, this makes the comedy all the sweeter for those in the know.

No one is off limits for Pie’s anger. Although a self-confessed “leftie”, Pie relishes in taking down political correct liberals as well as an incumbent government, seemingly obsessed with, on one hand, making the poor poorer while pandering to powerful international corporations on the other.

Millenials do not escape the incandescent reporter’s wrath either. “Get off your phones and enjoy your life!” he shouts. Nor does Maggie Thatcher, as he explains Pie’s Law: “All thing being equal, if it’s gone wrong it’s Maggie Thatcher’s fault”. There is clearly no love lost there.

Reminiscent of Steve Coogan in his pom, Walker treads the fine line between comedy grotesque and likability well. There is a lot a skill in a performance that requires shotgun delivery from start to finish with hardly a pause.

Not letting the audience feel safe in their views he cautions us not to seek opinions that mirror our own just to confirm our positive bias and urges us to think for ourselves, but always test our ideas and morals. Sound advice, albeit from a flawed comedy character.

In amongst all the political posturing and examination is a tiny vignette of physical theatre, a play on bullying, that swiftly moves past the gatherings eyes but is laugh out loud funny.

Leaving the audience wanting more, he exits the stage on a high energy high, hopefully, to have a little lie-down. That much wonderful comedy indignation has to tire even the most robust of men. Long may Pie continue to explode with rage, it is a joy to watch.

Reviewed on 13 July 2018 | Image: Contributed

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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