Reviewer: Guy Walker
Miles Jupp will be known to many of the nation’s children as ‘Archie the Inventor’ from the BBC children’s television show Balamory, but he is also one of the country’s up and coming stand-up comedians. As well appearing on Balamory he has also been seen in a host of other comedy shows such as Rev, The Thick of It and Have I Got News For You.
He comes to the Harrogate Theatre with a new show called Fibber in the Heat. It tells of his disillusionment with acting and comedy and his need for fulfilment elsewhere. The final straw comes when touring the stage show of Balamory, which restricts his chances of watching the Ashes. Jupp then hatches a plan to become a journalist in order to follow the England cricket team on a tour of India. Using his media connections he gets jobs with BBC Scotland and Wales’ ‘Western Mail’ newspaper as chief cricket correspondent. While there he manages to blag his way into the press box, gets stuck behind a pillar that obscures his view of the game and meet his heroes such as David Gower. Things start to go wrong when BBC Scotland won’t return his calls and the ‘Western Mail’ pull the plug when the only Welsh player leaves the team through injury. As Jupp himself says in one of the funniest moments of the show “I travelled Four thousand miles to write for nobody about a thing I cannot see.”
‘Fibber in the Heat’ doesn’t feel like a stand-up show it’s more of an extended monologue, which is at times very funny but lacks the bite that many of the top stand-ups possess. Jupp’s style is very laid back as he portrays this image of a softly spoken English gent. This is a very unique style and he manages to pull off gags in a very understated style. Things are then off set by bombastic routines that involve excellent physical comedy and the incongruity of eloquently told toilet humour that may not be to everybody’s tastes.
The problem with the show is if you know nothing about cricket then it will be a struggle. Essentially it’s a travelogue with a loose narrative that centres on this fish out of water story, which tells of the old cliché that the grass really isn’t always greener on the other side. The show was entertaining and performed well but at times it was too obscure. It felt as if he was performing it to a room of cricket fans. The shows ending seemed clichéd, with its “never meet your heroes” message, with Jupp deciding to ditch his journalistic ambitions to watch the match with the supporters. The ending of the show felt flat and with no punch line to finish the performance, it felt like a damp squib after Jupp had left the stage to the audience’s applause.
The show was enjoyable and there were genuine moments of hilarity, but for those who aren’t fans of crickets and lack any knowledge whatsoever of the game then they will struggle to get some of the jokes. All in all it was a fine evening’s entertainment but not one that will stick with you long after the event.