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Mike Newall: Six Weddings

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Hilary Wardle

Softly spoken Northerner Mike Newall is so laid back he’s almost horizontal, to the extent that he barely seems to be doing anything on stage. In much the same way as a dressage rider can make a horse do spectacular tricks without appearing to move, Mike manages to provoke involuntary guffaws from his audience with the sparsest of material.

Take his long and involved explanation of how he’s managed to get through adult life without ever losing a single sock (spoiler alert: it involves a JJB sports bag, a great deal of attention to detail and a tumble dryer). It really shouldn’t have been funny, but nevertheless it was hard to stifle a laugh.

The same goes for Mike’s meticulous description of eating a lava-hot chip shop pie in his car and his subsequent half-processed thought that he should ‘complain’ about how hot it was, though to be fair a lot of the humour in that section was down to his decision to then read out some of the cheerfully insane Tripadvisor reviews he’d found by people who’d done just that. Complaints included a perceived lack of salt on the chips and one particularly disgruntled man who felt the gravy (that he’d purchased from a chip shop) was ‘just chip shop gravy’. It’s hard to know what he was expecting. A reduced balsamic jus, perhaps?

There’s probably a whole hour of material in Tripadvisor alone, but the main subject of Mike’s loosely-knit show is the fact that last year he attended six weddings in just eight months so he also touches on issues such as what to say in a best man speech, how much to spend on a gift and how to react when you discover that the cheesecake you were promised isn’t what you were hoping for at all.

This glut of weddings naturally led him to consider his own situation as a single thirtysomething, which is why we’re treated to anecdotes about sorting socks, buying washing powder and eating pie in a car. He doesn’t have the most exciting life, bless him.

There’s something strangely elegiac about these modest little insights into his life that make them more than just average observational comedy. It’s the ordinariness and plainness of the source material that makes it funny. His delivery is good too, leaving things hanging in the air: such as his fading hopes of starting a family despite the fact he just bought a Ford Mondeo. Maybe he’s a bit like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams: ‘If I buy it, (the Labrador and toddler) will come’.

Let’s hope those dreams come true, as he’s excellent house husband material. Didn’t he mention the fact that he’d never lost a single sock? Impressive stuff.

Review date: 22 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Hilary Wardle

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