Justin Moorhouse

Justin Moorhouse

Justin Moorhouse: People and Feelings

Review by Julia Chamberlain

I think the dominant feeling here was jetlag. Justin Moorhouse, freshly back from a stint in Rio, started his Edinburgh run late, after his job presenting Olympics coverage was extended.

He’s positively glowing with sun and wellbeing, making some snippy comments about how we, the audience, ‘drag yourselves up here to see some bloke you could see in the Co-op’. But they are fans. On speaking to one punter, the reply came back: ‘You asked me that in Southport’. Stalker… But Moorhouse is effortlessly friendly, and succeeded in engaging with one family throughout the show without ever losing the rest of the crowd.

He made it look easy, visibly collecting his thoughts while talking about comedy and boldly stating that everything he said would be true, not like most comedians and their ‘funny thing happened on the way here’ that never is. But later on he told a story about his daughter which, while hilarious, I’d swear never happened.

He criticised middle-aged women for not being able to tell a story and for being difficult to be married to; spoke of his adolescent daughter’s ‘resting bitch face’ mentioned a little girl who was ugly but ‘grew up to be an attractive woman’, so that’s all right then, and.

Such subconscious jibing at women is ever so slightly strange from a man who has bonhomie shining out of him, and can make the most commonplace observation very winning, even this. Even at 46, he still has elements of the cute little boy he says he once was – evident in a cheeky smile and kind, gleaming (and now spectacle-free) eyes.

He conjured up a childhood world of pranks and japes that was positively sepia-toned and dynamic, not slumped, isolated in front of computers. It was a time of impoverished happy innocence – and if that’s not a fictional construct I don’t know what is.

But here was not a moment without laughter. He smashed the hour out of the park, despite being a bit forgetful and conspicuously checking his timing.

The show will now be absolutely rock solid after another night’s sleep and the final piece, which was pretty slight, blossomed into a splendid piece of storytelling, jammed with vivid characters and great comic ‘Northernisms', really consolidating Moorhouse’s position as top ‘Northern bloke’ comic.

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Published: 23 Aug 2016

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