Barrie Hall – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2005

Review by Steve Bennett

There’s something about that North-Eastern accent so beloved of call centres that makes even the most depressing news sound reassuring, jolly even.

It’s a gift of nature that Hall puts to effective use in his stand-up, covering some fairly dark corners, but with a warm, relaxed charm.

He employs a conversational approach – though not to the exclusion of actual punchlines – with an aloof wit and a good smattering of decent laughs. The set doesn’t quite manage to coagulate into something heartily fulfilling, but it’s entertaining enough.

As for topics, some of it is familiar fare about the hardiness of the average Geordie, living in rough areas and the like, but elsewhere there’s a vague undercurrent of social comment, whether it be on the corporate power of Tesco or the ineffective guilt-relief of Fair Trade – although he’s a pains to ensure the points are never laboured.

Less edifyingly, he does linger around the areas of bad taste rather too much. A graphic and overlong routine about the perineum is especially unpleasant, eliciting more gasps of shock than it does laughs. The set flounders noticeably as he gets stuck in this out-to-shock groove, but there’s some halfway-decent stuff before we get there.

Review date: 27 May 2005
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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