Robin Ince Knew This Would Happen

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Looking at Robin Ince I can’t decide if he’s a young Old Bloke, or an Old Boy. He’s got all the energy of youth, he positively crackles with it, but his pedantic, pernickety fussing about proper usage, is pure grumpy old man.

From the cod portentous voice-off introducing the show, ‘In the beginning was the word …’, to references to Tycho Brahe, Darwin, genetics and theology, you know you’re in the presence of a formidable intelligence. But the belly laughs come from his pinpoint accuracy with wordplay, why ‘trendy’ is a mum word, why being wriggly isn’t manly, but can save your life…

He has the knack of selling an idea to you as funny, his enthusiasm and brio kept me and the audience with him throughout. It’s a well structured show, with variety in the pacing, so you’re not hypnotised by speed and rhythm, and you have time to catch your breath.

The snippets of personal information – his attending six funerals in a year, his wife’s pregnancy, his clerical forebears - help make him seem more humane . You might otherwise feel you’re in the presence of a fine comedy technician and an eloquent communicator.

But there’s not much warmth. It’s as though comedy is his second language. He’s expert in it, you’re impressed by his fluency but it feels as though he’s acquired the skills by sheer hard work and application rather than possessing funny bones.

It’s a good show, I came out wishing I could retain even half of his ideas. He’s more clever than funny, but that’s not an insult when you’re as smart as he is.

Reviewed by: Julian Chambers

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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