Phil Nichol at the Greenwich Comedy Festival

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Phil Nichol’s passion is intimidating, apparently possessed by some mischievous, possibly malevolent, spirit as he clumps around the stage with his T-shirt over his head, intimidates the front row with some predatory flirting or prancing gaily to demonstrate his idea of combating urban violence with contemporary dance.

There are a few new one-liners from his 2009 Edinburgh show – delivered with verve rather the deadpan he adopted for this year’s Fringe – but mostly this is the set Nichol’s been doing for years. But it ages well, as it’s based on the irresistible power of his performance much more than the cleverness of his material. The unpredictability of this apparent maniac gives the act an air of danger for those new to him; but even when you know it’s a well-practised shtick, the sheer energy, and the audience reaction, provides plenty of joyful abandon.

And who can tire of hearing Only Gay Eskimo, even if the catalogue of musicians he imitates when he breaks off into different styles could do with modernisation.

Review date: 13 Sep 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Old Royal Naval College

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