A familiar face on comedy panel shows such as Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You, Chris Addison tries a little too hard to please everyone in his audience but also provides an interesting take on familiar topics.
Opening last week’s show with typical Swansea banter, Addison made some wonderful observations about local life and kept the audience on their toes before the talk turned to politics. A well-developed rant about the coalition government was filled with potential but fell short of brilliance when he followed said rant with the line: “Not that Labour are any better”, as though his relationship with the BBC means that he has to maintain impartiality towards political parties.
His manner on stage is sporadic and he veers off topic easily; something like a child in a sweetshop in the sense that he can never pick one thing that he wants. His skills at improvisation are outstanding, as is his ability to interact with members of the audience and steer them towards comedy gold, although both these elements of the show are less compelling than many of his tirades about the Daily Express or the debating techniques of the ignorant.
The first half of the show becomes a little too heavy-going, with too much politics and too many mixed messages about what he actually thinks due to his desire to remain non-partisan. There are some great observations but some have been done before- an unfortunate downside to being a regular feature on Mock the Week. As a person he is astonishingly self-aware; constantly referring to his middle-class status, mocking himself as well as the world around him.
It would be better if Addison developed a stronger, more assertive voice on many of the subjects he seems so passionate about. His flirtation with various ideas results in confusion for the audience on what message, if any, he is trying to get across, and his fixation on unnecessary details occasionally feels like time-wasting. Chris Addison is clearly intelligent enough to cover a vast range of topics- from dodgy hotels with Ed Byrne to his views on the Royal family- yet his unwillingness to test himself and his audience means that this latest tour still has much room for improvement.
By Roisin O’Connor