Fringe review – Russell Howard

Russell Howard – Adventures

PLEASANCE COURTYARD (VENUE 33)

RUSSELL Howard’s brief outbursts on the BBC show Mock the Week don’t do justice to his considerable comic talent. Next to Frankie Boyle’s perfectly timed, gloriously un-PC interjections, Howard is often left to look like an eager rookie playing for the easy laughs.

But with an hour of our undivided attention, the self-confessed H-from-Steps-lookalike proves himself as a natural, and likeable, stand-up.

Tellingly, Howard, in one of many self-reflexive asides, says: “I can’t do deadpan.” He really can’t. In fact, he can’t even stand still. If the show was to overrun by five minutes, the hyperactive, hyper-tongued Howard would probably collapse.

But this childlike enthusiasm belies a sharp – if rather bog-standardly liberal – social outlook. And while Howard can extract whatever humour remains in over-mined gems such as the tabloid press or terrorism, it’s when he’s in biographical mode that his manic style works best.

These anecdotes range from infantile experimentation to drunken indiscretion, but they are usually united in theme by graphic, often bum-related, embarrassment for their teller.

One criticism is that Howard tends to go for the collective, mainstream jugular when he might do better to embrace his evident eccentricity. Despite this, he’s certainly a comedian who must be enjoyed live, rather than via a tightly edited, suspiciously smooth TV gameshow.

• Until 27 August. Today 9.20pm

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1 Comment

Filed under comedy

One response to “Fringe review – Russell Howard

  1. Roo

    Great Review! The guy can’t stand still and is so dynamic live it’s incredible! And did I mention how funny he is? Well, you gotta see it to believe it!
    He made a guest appearance at our local comedyclub in Bristol as a warm up to his current tour, he must have packed 30minutes of laughter into a 10minute slot and was stunning! Looking forward to seeing the full set when his tour reaches Bristol later next month!

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