Mo Gil­li­gan

The Guardian - G2 - - Live Reviews -

★★★☆☆ Le­ices­ter Square theatre, London Touring un­til 13 June

It’s been a big year for south London comic Mo Gil­li­gan. Twelve months ago, he was sell­ing jeans. Now, he’s play­ing the Al­bert Hall, Drake quotes his catch­phrases, and he has sold out 22 nights at Le­ices­ter Square theatre. It all seems out of pro­por­tion to the cheer­ful am­a­teurism of the on­line sketches that made his name. But there is no deny­ing he’s equipped for this level of suc­cess: his show Cou­pla Cans is a good-time 90 min­utes, show­cas­ing an act with for­mi­da­ble char­ac­ter-com­edy chops and a lovely ease and con­fi­dence.

The ma­te­rial is cosily familiar, but he brings it to smooth, sparkling life, al­ways shar­ing in the amuse­ment he gen­er­ates. The set pieces are usu­ally role plays (the fam­ily wed­ding; the girls’ night out; the school class­room), with Gil­li­gan in­hab­it­ing many of the char­ac­ters who pop­u­late his on­line work. (Dif­fer­ent Type of Grime MCs; Types of Girls in a Club, etc.) The so­cial rit­u­als of young black Bri­tons are laid bare as cou­ples dance to bash­ment mu­sic. An­other sec­tion finds school­boy Mo in­eptly steal­ing “ice poles” from un­der his au­thor­i­tar­ian mum’s nose.

The geezer char­ac­ter who gives the show its ti­tle ap­pears in a foot­ball skit, and we get Gil­li­gan’s rasta dad re­work­ing nurs­ery rhymes. The spirit of

Lee Evans (of whom Gil­li­gan is a fan) haunts a skit about mums mim­ing song lyrics – one of sev­eral ob­ser­va­tional rou­tines that strain for con­sen­su­al­ity. “Ev­ery group of guys has the ugly guy,” he’ll say, or, “All aun­ties do that fake aun­tie smile.” Do they? There’s no need for that over­reach; there is plenty for us all to recog­nise and en­joy in this crowd-pleas­ing set by a new­found star.

Brian Lo­gan

Crowd-pleaser … Mo Gil­li­gan

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