Jon Richardson: Spatula Pad

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

If, amid the plethora of comedy awards at Edinburgh, there is one for ‘most off-putting title’, Jon Richardson’s appalling Spatula Pad would walk it.

He has to apologise from the start. He thought his show’s name might combine the fact that he lives alone in Swindon and quite likes cooking in one efficient two-word title. Very obviously it doesn’t.

Yet those not deterred by gratingly bad wordplay are rewarded with one of the more assured debuts on the Fringe this year. His puns may be strained – as indeed is his voice, a nasal Northern whine which is another thing he can only apologise for – but his material is fluid, natural and funny.

He’s an unabashed misanthrope, and much of his material is a release for the irritation he feels at the other people who hinder his daily progress through their dithering. It’s not an angry show, he’s too middle-class for that, it’s more like an exasperated tut drawn out over an hour. His frustration is very easy to emphasise with, which means his routines are enjoyable effective.

Other solid material comes from the fact that Richardson - Russell Howard’s sidekick on 6Music - also suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, but has the sense of humour to realise how ridiculous his behaviour is, and can cheerfully mock the affliction.

It manifests itself in his writing, too, which, as you might expect from OCD boy, is impressively tidy, with a fascination in the detail of everyday situations. Few comics could do five minutes solely on watching a man eat a sandwich, but for Richardson, it’s a breeze.

These two threads of the hugely enjoyable show combine for most effect. He might order his cutlery drawer in one way, then become agitated when a flatmate moves it around. Stand-up is his way of expressing that, and you know his annoyance is the real deal.

There are some great lines in here, and Richardson’s a personable, natural performer. He plays things a little safe, making sure his debut is known for rock-solid stand-up rather than anything spectacular, but as a calling card to raise him up to the next stage on the circuit, it works very well indeed.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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