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Andrew Collins: Secret Dancing .. And Other Urban Survival Techniques

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Andrew Collins already has an impressively varied CV: author, 6 Music DJ, EastEnders scriptwiter, Radio Times film critic and Richard Herring’s podcast foil. Can he now add stand-up to the list?

Well, he makes a decent fist of his debut, a more-than competent hour that frequently needs to be more distinctive, but written with the assured touch you might expect given his background and delivered with the solid confidence of an after-dinner speaker, if not the truly relaxed manner of a seasoned comic.

Material about the idiotic paedophile/paediatrician mix up of a decade ago adds nothing new, and taking colloquialisms or advertising hyperbole literally is an unexciting comedy formula. But when he tries a little harder, the effort pays off. So the obvious joke about the sign ‘Watch repairs’ is dull, but a gag about the rhino head in the same store is much more unexpected.

He’s got a few delightful one-liners, too, on a random array of topics from Gaydar to church billboards, while his segment about the conservative newspaper-reading habits of the moribund Surrey town where he once lived demonstrates an impressive understanding of how a comic can get huge laughs from rhythm alone. Rhythm, of course, is essential to the titular routine, in which he demonstrates how you can groove along to your iPod without anyone ever being any the wiser.

It’s just a silly routine among many in this mish-mash of unrelated topics that Collins nonetheless manages to make seamless. Some routines seem fully-formed – such as him contemplating his own obituary following his imagined death in a train crash – while others, such as his bird-based ambitions, need a little polish to build on their obvious promise.

Thank goodness, then, for the Free Fringe where he can learn such lessons from a toe dipped in the shark-infested waters of stand-up, without much cost to himself or the audiences he will learn from.

Review date: 19 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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