Noel James and Company

Note: This review is from 2001

Review by Steve Bennett

Noel James has written some of the best puns you'll ever hear.

Unfortunately, he's also written some of the worse.

And the full spectrum gets an airing here with absolutely no quality control applied, which makes for the patchiest of shows.

The performance too, is a let-down. Aiming for the charmingly shambolic, James instead hits the embarrassingly amateurish.

It's all so very frustrating, as there are some real belters here, but the delivery has more rough edges than a sandpaper golfball and cries out for some sort of direction.

Interestingly, the show lifts when he's joined by the 'and Company' - in the form of fellow stand-up Mark Felgate.

James seems to work better with a stooge and - perhaps strangely for a comic whose unique selling point is ventriloquism - Felgate proves a fantastic silent comedy performer, his distinctive features always able to conjure up the perfect gormless expression.

Overall, though, this is a huge waste of potential, and it's a real shame.

At its best, the material is so strong that it cuts straight through all that is wrong to induce heartfelt belly-laughs - so just think what it could do if it was more tightly presented and with the dead wood cut away.

James has a joke-writing genius. All he need do is to learn how to use it.

Review date: 1 Jan 2001
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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