Matthew Highton: Good Luck Sleeping Jerks | Review by Steve Bennett
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Matthew Highton: Good Luck Sleeping Jerks

Review by Steve Bennett

More usually known for his surreal work – some of which is with the Weirdo’s comedy collective – Matthew Highton here delivers an often compelling storytelling show from his real and unusual life.

The yarns that will stick in the mind most firmly are from his time working the bar at a Leeds pub which he describes as savage hangout for the city’s criminal underworld. He spent five years there and has enough jaw-dropping tales of violence that could probably make him a Yorkshire Tarantino, should he wish.

It’s not clear whether it’s related, but he now has chronic insomnia, mixed with sleep paranoia and night terrors, which leaves him jabbering away when he’s supposedly dormant. Some of his outpourings, captured on an app designed for just that purpose and shared here, probably give a clue to what deep psychological recesses prompt the stranger trains of thought that inspired previous shows.

However, it’s Highton’s often-stormy relationship with his father that forms the foundation of this yea’s offering, with affectionate stories mixed in with ones that show a much darker, troubled side. His brother also features, mainly through the increasingly elaborate practical jokes they used to play on each other – always a good source of comic mischief.

Highton has the storyteller’s gift of being able to make much out of very little, being able to vividly conjure up emotions he felt at the time and get the audience to share them here and now. But the fact he has such a rich source of raw material shouldn't be underestimated either, so often it’s a case of downplaying the drama, wary this is a comedy show that needs laughs.

He varies the pace and tone of the hour, and has an everyman charm that really does make it feel like a chummy chat – even though he packs a lot more impact, and laughs, than that.

Review date: 20 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Heroes @ The Hive

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