Reviewer: Dave Cunningham
During his current show Seann Walsh characterises himself as being so bone-idle he is still in bed, not even having scratched his balls, while most people have traveled to, and returned from, work. Anyone witnessing Walsh onstage will know this is not the case. He is a very hard-working and physical performer. The distinguishing feature of his show is that Walsh does not so much tell as enact jokes.
As Walsh describes his hopeless attempts to recapture the skills of his youth by kicking a misplaced football back to the players he mimes the actions in exaggerated slow motion to a drowsy soundtrack played on his phone. Fast food deliverymen, he suggests, see the worse in people- those who can’t be arsed to even microwave a meal. Accepting that he falls into this category Walsh re-creates the almost Zen-like state his laziness invokes. Lying flat on his back and listening to the introductory speech on the DVD menu on a loop because he can’t be bothered to find the remote.
Walsh widens his observations from his own inertia to contrast the over-enthusiasm of television presenters with his usual state of recovering from a hangover. The replication of the hangover, hair hanging over face and microphone banging on chest to duplicate a racing heartbeat, is a particularly fine mime.
In an excellent conclusion Walsh brings together all of the elements of the show in a single sequence as he enacts the various stages of his visits to a neighbourhood 24-hour store. These begin with his shy visit in the afternoon through his boisterous midnight excursion to buy booze for an ill advised ’all back to mine’ invite and finally a repentant return the next day.
It is as well that the presentation is original as the observational material is mundane. Pointing out that men who live alone tend to be untidy and dress sloppily is something to which an audience can relate but it is hardly perceptive. This failing continues with the encore. Walsh further belies his self-imposed reputation for laziness by generously previewing material for his next tour. This promises to be a sequel to ‘The Lie-in King’ detailing the changes made to his life after he moved in with his girlfriend. The delivery is excellent – describing how his girlfriend takes pleasure in peeling open his eyelids and torturing him with piercingly bright lights before acknowledging that she has only opened the curtains. But again observations that women and men differ are far from new.
The meticulous care taken in devising the material reveals a weakness in coping with unscripted events. Walsh is left high and dry when a malfunctioning microphone fails to pick up the soundtrack he requires for a joke. Off the cuff interaction with the audience, usually the comedian’s default action, is not one of Walsh’s stronger points.
‘The Lie-in King’ is a very fine show but it is frustrating to speculate how much better it would have been if the material had matched the quality of the delivery.
Reviewed on 5th April 2014