Being Johnny Vegas

Note: This review is from 2001

Review by Steve Bennett

Sometimes it's a shame to have to review just a single performance, rather than the whole range of what a comic is capable of.

Johnny Vegas is one of the foremost comedy talents in this country, eking sometimes painful laughs from the never-ending despair of his unique tragi-comic persona.But last night, that just wasn't happening.

It seems churlish to mention the shortcomings, as Vegas is well aware of them, his asides on the progress of his act going being an integral part of the show itself. "There's a bit of a lull," he said fairly early on, and it was a downer that lasted for much of the remainder of the night.

Claiming that he hadn't written a show, the typically maudlin Vegas instead craved interaction with the audience, pleading to be centre of attention.

But the bantering and the heckling was fairly limited from this reserved midweek crowd.

Occasionally something did click, prompting Vegas to launch into one of his tragically beautiful, pathos-tinged wails of self-pity, demonstrating the pinnacles this complex character is capable of.

But there were too few such moments to sustain the 90 minutes, producing a show that was ultimately as flabby as Vegas's exposed stomach.

Towards the end, Vegas cheers himself up with a Wham! medley, which would perhaps have been a suitable counterpoint to the comic woe preceding it, had things gone to plan.

Instead, it seemed as if the climax to the show was simply laughing at a fat bloke singing badly, the depth of the humour stripped away as the momentum flagged.

Failure is the risk you run if you're pushing boundaries, and while this performance was not a disaster, it was a disappointment.

Review date: 1 Jan 2001
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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