Aylesbury Waterside On tour till Oct 10, 2018
Rob Brydon came to stand-up via TV. After spending years scrapping about in cult comedies, the mainstream Gavin & Stacey propelled him stagewards, first at the Edinburgh Fringe in character comedy before finally touring in 2009 as his actual self.
In the interim his stock has risen considerably with the panel show Would I Lie To You?, ten years old and still consistently brilliant, as well as three series of The Trip with Steve Coogan, in which the pair bicker their way around gastro-tours of Britain/Italy/Spain while having endless ‘Caine-offs’ to see whose impressions hit hardest. This latest tour makes you wonder why he left it eight years to go back on the road. Brydon is about as natural as it’s possible to be on stage, riffing with his crowd of oldtimers as if they were in his living room and effortlessly impro-weaving his cast of crumblies into his routines, and even a song. His superb impressions are by no means the mainstay of the show and are often ingeniously minimalist – just a harrumph of a throatclearance is enough to signal Tom Jones, while a constipated grunt indicates Mick Jagger is in the house – and he earns a fourth star alone for not doing Ronnie Corbett, possibly because he’s (over)done him so much he now actually sounds like him, even when he’s ‘off’. Perhaps the apotheosis of his repertoire is his take-off of Radio 2 DJ Ken Bruce, the perfect demographic target for this Aylesbury audience of mid- to late-lifers.
On the day that Coogan won a six-figure settlement in phone-hacking damages, a sharp punter challenged Brydon over his financial inferiority to Coogan (£3m compared to £9m, he said), only for Brydon to hit back with ‘I have five kids, he only has one’. Classic Brydon. Still outsmarting his impressions nemesis even when he’s not in the room. Back of the net.