COMEDY REVIEW: Jason Manford @ Virgin Money Unity Arena, Newcastle (30.08.20) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Thomas Jackson, Tynesight Photography

We all know that good comedy, the very best of it at least, makes us see the world differently and I’m sure the last thing anyone needs is for a reviewer to form the basis of their review by rehashing this classic cliché.

But I’m going to because, sometimes, being told what we already know is exactly what we need to hear; just to stop the risk of us becoming complacent…so…well…good comedy makes us see the world differently – and on the strength of tonight’s performance, Jason Manford knows that better than most.

Finding comedy in various tragedies of Covid-19, Manford shines tonight with his ability to take the information overload surrounding the pandemic and find the moments of contradictions and silliness (‘Eat out to help out’ v ‘stay active’ government initiatives, being given two weeks notice about wearing a face mask, etc). Removing any unnecessary aggressive or political focus to his themes, Manford succeeds by making comedy out of the commonalities most have faced in the last six months and using them as a vehicle to take the piss out of our collective faults.

Delivered with faultless comic timing, and supported by the use of the ‘double-humour’ technique of critiquing his new work as he goes along, Manford owns the open stage by slowing the delivery to his speed; particularly impressive in the difficult surroundings of having a performance space far too big for a one person act and being so far away from his audience that he is unable to gauge how his performance is being received.

Manford tell the jokes, they work, and many of us breathe a sigh of relief; comedy in a large outdoors venue can work. It just needs the very best of jokes.

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