Reviewer: Jay Nuttall
Miles Jupp describes himself as a stand-up, actor, writer, thinker, father, husband and fool. You may know him best from The Thick of It, outstanding sitcom Rev or know his voice as the newly promoted host of The News Quiz on Radio 4.
Playing The Lowry’s large Lyric theatre it is easy to see how a comic’s new-found fame over the last few years translate itself into tickets sales. Long gone are his days as an early twenties actor playing Archie in CBeebies’ Balamory. His pink castle albatross, as he refers to it, can now be the butt of his joke and not his source of employment.
Jupp begins the evening with an anecdote from a recent gig in which he overheard an audience member reviewing his show on the way out as unpleasant and predictable. Rather than take offence Jupp has embraced his harsh critique and turned it to his favour. Managing expectations from the outset he declares that he is home in the demographic he appeals to. As a thirty-seven-year-old father of five his post-show routine in his hotel room is not one of debauchery but rather a hot bath. His audience, he knows too well, come adorned with one too many silk scarves and casually beige trousers who have died and gone to Waitrose. Finding a copy of The Observer when leaving the theatre we are truly in the heart of Radio 4 listenership land.
Miles Jupp is an unapologetic white, upper middle class, middle England comic who rails against first world problems. With a received pronunciation, home counties accent he describes his speech as having increasingly unfashionable vowels. Self-deprecating as most comedians are his best line of the evening is “you have no idea how much I hate people like myself”. And like many male comedians, he plays the angry young man at times – although for Jupp it is less the social injustice and more the temperature that soup is sometimes served. His material (over two hours of comedy) touches upon being wrongly assumed as a train spotter, excessive politeness, the quality of train food, royal biscuits, winning Celebrity Mastermind and his very short career as a restaurant critic. By far his best material is his observation of family life, being a father and the relationship with his young children who make him feel older than his years.
Closing your eyes you could be forgiven you were listening to an extended version of The News Quiz as his interjections are always a delight. His formula of classic punchline is often complimented by an extra sardonic line that is usually more satisfying. Jupp is an incredibly intelligent comic with wry lines and wordplay but with such similar pace, content and delivery it is often hard to keep focus for the whole evening. Perhaps his harsh critic who pronounced him as predictable has a good point. I longed for Jupp to prove me wrong and jump out of the liberal elite box.
An enjoyable evening in the company of an intelligent man with an extremely polished set. But it never went beyond the norm and wonder whether it was, actually, a bit too casually beige.
Reviewed on 5 February 2017 | Image: Contributed