Frank Skinner Review – Garrick Theatre, London

Frank Skinner
Image Source: BBC

Frank Skinner

Format: Stand-Up
Review Date: February 14 2020
Performance: February 14 2020
Location: Garrick Theatre, London
Duration: 140 Minutes incl. Interval

Frank Skinner is one of the most beloved English comedians of the past 30 years, and he is still putting on one fantastic stand-up show after another on the stage. He is about to take his Showbiz tour on the road across the United Kingdom, but before then, we were fortunate enough to experience him live at London’s Garrick Theatre.

Description

Providing support for the show was Pierre Novellie. Describing himself as the “poppadum tray” to Frank’s “curry”, Novellie discussed his background from originally living in South Africa to his childhood emigration to the Isle Of Man, where he noted some of the more amusing observations and challenges that he had. This included him becoming aware that, within the United Kingdom, it seems to be a popular trait, if not something close to law, for people to make sure that their cooked food should always be wet, even if it means potentially spoiling a perfectly good dish by pouring the juice from mushy peas onto said plate. Pierre’s set was very funny and a great prelude to the “main course” of the evening, and he is performing his own solo show (titled You’re Expected To Care) at Soho Theatre this May, which based on this evidence would definitely be worth a look.

As for Frank himself, after a short delay (due to an attendee falling ill), he came on to major applause and almost immediately had the audience in stitches. Frank has a friendly, conservational style to his comedy, where he comes across as likeable and approachable, all of which makes his more cutting lines about society and its more noteworthy members all the more hilarious. Commenting on popular topics in the news at present, Frank also noted some comedic sights that caught his eye en route to the venue, both on this particular night when walking to Garrick Theatre, and previously when travelling in the back seat of an Uber. He also commented on the potential hazard of an unexploded World War II bomb which had recently been discovered in the vicinity of the auditorium, and offered his thoughts on the legacy of Bruce Forsyth, as well as discussing the ongoing fall-out of the situation involving Harry and Meghan.

Skinner also made sure to include plenty of audience interaction by speaking to numerous people on the front row, learning about their backgrounds and current or former jobs, which led to plenty of ad-libbed jokes that he would refer back to as the show progressed. Frank also emphasised how, due to him getting older, certain aspects about day-to-day life have changed, some of which had the audience howling, partly because his perspectives was pretty accurate and widespread. Not forgetting parenthood and his relationship with his wife Cath, as Frank highlighted specific examples that make his marriage and his role as a father true joys in his life, while also presenting some unforeseen challenges that again had the audience in hysterics.

Analysis

The Showbiz tour had been running at Garrick Theatre for many weeks when we came to see Frank, so it is a real testament to him and his talents that he is able to keep every show different and fresh by noting ever-changing popular topics being covered within the media, while his aforementioned audience interaction ensures that no two shows are the same, as well as emphasising his skills to ad-lib on the spot. Frank also proved (not for the first time in his career by any means) that he is a master when it comes to tackling hecklers, aided by those attempting to achieve a small moment of attention picking the worst possible moments to shout out, which made his subsequent put-downs even funnier.

As mentioned, while Frank is a true British comedy legend and one of the more recognisable names within his field, he is also the sort of guy who you could imagine sharing a pint or two with after the show without feeling overawed by his presence. This made his material much more relatable, because he speaks as if he is one of your mates discussing the more eventful happenings of his week, and it also ensured that everybody in attendance was hanging onto his every word, because he is an interesting man that is worth listening to at every point. Of course, some of the situations that Skinner recapped were so crazy that the visuals created by Frank for the crowd to envision were side-splitting, aided by his sharp wit and spot-on delivery. Frank is the sort of comedian who could literally make a joke out of anything, and he is also someone who subtly plants seeds under an assumed serious tone to lead to an even bigger punch line either moments later or much further into the show. All of which guaranteed that this was a superb night of entertainment; I don’t want to spoil any of the jokes in particular, but suffice it to say that there were a plethora of memorable one-liners that will stick in my mind for some time to come.

Summary

Frank Skinner proved once again why he is one of the truly great English stand-up comedians, and his Showbiz show receives the highest recommendation possible from me. His ever-changing material makes sure that you can gain value by watching his current tour more than once across its nationwide run, and the support by Pierre Novellie adds further value to the night as a whole. Simply put, you would be greatly missing out by not attending a live comedy gig for Frank Skinner, and his latest show would be a great performance to check out.

Notes

Target Audience: Adults Aged 18+
Content: Occasional Strong Language, Moderate Sex References
Recommendation?: Yes
Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect

Further Information

For more information about Frank Skinner, click here.