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Colin Murphy

Note: This review is from 2002

Review by Steve Bennett

Colin Murphy takes a while to really hit his stride, instead launching his show with a hefty chunk of audience banter.

It's of a similar style and standard to that which you'll hear in comedy clubs up and down the country any night of the week - and while Murphy is accomplished at handling the responses, within minutes you're itching for the show proper to start.

And even when the prepared material kicks in, Murphy prefaces every routine with some 'has anybody ever' question, which is never rhetorical.

While this may serve to make the show feel more conversational and relaxed, it also prevents him from building up momentum, as each chunk of backchat feels like we're starting anew.

And it's not as if his material needs to be propped up by interaction - his routines are never weak and the best, such as the brilliant ways to show off should you manage to wangle a first-class plane ticket, are near-classics.

Superfluous two-way conversation only gets in the way of the great material that punters have paid for (and Edinburgh audiences presumably need a little less hand-holding than on the circuit, as they have specifically chosen to see a named comic, not some generic comedy line-up).

Much of Murphy's humour comes from his travels - he has a perceptive routine about Glaswegian speech patterns, and an entertaining tale of drinking a mini-bar dry.

Elsewhere, he speaks of the phenomena of self-help books, and mocking the stupid suggestions they contain proves to be effortlessly funny. Though 'effortlessly' is a double-edged adverb, as material that writes itself is never as piercing as more imaginative routines.

This is a friendly and funny show, but just lacks the sense of occasion that would lift it into something special, despite the robust quality of Murphy's observations and anecdotes.

Review date: 1 Jan 2002
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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