Justin Moorhouse’s Ever Decreasing Social Circle

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Remove the racism, sexism and assorted other bigotries from the stereotypical Northern working men’s club comic, retain the confidence, high gag rate and everyman persona and you are left with Justin Moorhouse.

A traditional style of good old-fashioned joke telling with a strong concept makes for an engaging and entertaining hour. Moorhouse wants to find out who his true friends are, he has 641 official friends on social network sites, but strip away the fans and hangers-on, he wants to know the five friends that would stand by him come what may.

To start the cull, Moorhouse sent out a form to each of his friends on Facebook designed to weed out the part-timers, the Morrissey haters and the ambidextrous to enable him to settle on his most compatible mates. It is a novel way to examine the meaning of friendship and how we value people in our lives.

Throughout the show you subconsciously answer all the questions in your own mind, placing yourself against the 641 others vying for the title of best friend. This personal investment in the show heightens the sense of closeness to Moorhouse who is likable, accessible and someone you wouldn’t mind sharing half a bitter with.

In the concluding section when Moorhouse invites the audience to compete to become his last true friend, people seem genuinely disappointed when they are knocked out of a round and loose the chance to be pals with this affable chap.

It seems like every second comic on the Fringe this year has a PowerPoint presentation to accompany the gags, Moorhouse is not one to be left behind, even though he freely admits he is more of a pen and paper man. He has even incorporated some random slides to poke fun at some of the more uninventive uses of the slideshow concept to great effect, allowing him to demonstrate his keen eye for absurdity and wordplay with a ‘how did that get in there?’ section.

There is nothing subtle or particularly thought-provoking about Moorhouse, his topics are familiar and his narrative is far from complex, but this does not detract from the fact that he is a painfully funny performer providing a solid hour of laughs.

You may not leave pondering over the meaning of life but you are guaranteed to leave with a grin on your face and an urge to add yet another friend on Facebook.

Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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