Jon Rollinson reviews Marcus Brigstocke at Warwick Arts Centre
Personal problems, political anger and a naked posterior - if those are the symptoms of a man going through a midlife crisis then Marcus Brigstocke cheerfully owns up to being just that man on his new tour, Why The Long Face.
The Radio 4 comedy hour regular delivered a topical two-hour set at Warwick Arts Centre Theatre on Saturday night, split into two halves. The first saw him vent his anger at the state of the world in general, picking on the trivial (people who want to juice everything) and the important (the Brexit vote). It takes some skill to risk alienating 52 per cent of your audience with a genuine attack on those who voted Leave - and boy did he mean it! - and then, just as the gig threatened to forsake comedy and embrace the deeply unfunny world of current politics, bring the rapidly cooling mood back up to temperature with a few riffs on his own midlife failings.
His marriage break up and re-entry onto the dating scene are deeply mined for material. A particular highlight being his wish to obtain definite consent with any new partners and likening the subsequent bedroom scene to a trip to the optician: “Is it better like this or this?"
A quick glance around the venue after the break showed that almost everyone had returned for more. “Not something that happened when I played pro-Leave Lincoln recently”, he admitted with a chuckle. The second half was much lighter and needed to be after the politics heavy opener. Brigstocke attempts to prove, with audience interaction, that we should be happier than we are. And, by and large, he succeeds. His run through the seven ages of man is excellent and concludes with urging us all to find our inner toddler for true happiness, something Brigstocke does with naked abandon and, in the process, banishes any chance of leaving with a long face.
* Visit marcusbrigstocke.com for future tour dates.