Reviewer: Matt Forrest
It seems odd these days that most stand-up comedians have to introduce themselves before arriving on stage: so when the announcer heralds Rory Bremner’s imminent entrance in a broad northern accent, you would be forgiven for thinking“wow Bremner is pushing the boat out tonight”, but then you realize it’s Bremner himself and a timely reminder at just what a talent this man has.
Bremner launches into a pitch perfect Donald Trump impersonation: poking fun at the President recent claims about Sweden and his slight fudging of the facts. We are treated to a half hour review of state of the world politics including; Brexit, the NHS and the POTUS; from its main protagonists Trump, Corbyn, Cameron, Boris and Farage – they’re all in there. Some impersonations are on point, especially Trump, Cameron and Nick Robinson, some less so – Jeremy Corbyn being the weakest. Bremner is undoubtedly a brilliant impressionist at times, capturing the vocal features but also facial features and mannerisms of his intended targets as well. He is a confident raconteur and charmingly funny political commentator: as he mixes stand-up with some stories from his 30 years covering politics.
It isn’t just Bremner on the bill tonight: also on hand are comedian Jo Caulfield and columnist Owen Jones. Caulfield does a good solid 20minute routine looking at the perils of making new friends abroad, the trappings of Facebook comments especially how not everyone shares her sense of humour and the focal point of the routine: her husband who winds her up something ruthless but she still loves. Caulfield is a welcome break from politics with a smart funny, prickly but not spiky routine.
Following the interval, Bremner has a sit-down interview with Jones to discuss some of the topics brought up in the show. It’s a strange concept for a stand-up show and not one without merit or its flaws. The two chat for 20 minutes about the state of politics in the UK and US: Jones is a confident and engaging speaker who clearly is passionate about his politics and provides interesting and informed opinions. The problem is Bremner doesn’t just play it as an interview: occasionally he dips into impressions which don’t really work for this section of the show.
The final part of the show sees few more anecdotes and sketches: highlights being Geoffrey Boycott in the class room and a phone conversation between Bremner and Bob Geldof. Finishing with a few older impressions of David Blunkett and Bill Clinton which offer nothing new, more of a way of shoe horning some crowd pleasing tried and tested material into the show. Over all this a solid show anchored by Bremner’s talent as a natural performer and worth catching before the political cauldron gets stirred up once more.
Reviewed on 22 February 2017