John Bishop: Cultural Ambassador

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

With Liverpool winning the accolade of European Capital of Culture this year, laid-back Scouser John Bishop has decided he should be the prime candidate for the Cultural Ambassador to bring all things Liverpudlian to the nation.

Bishop is not feeling well tonight, complaining of the infamous Fringe flu and the associated remedies for it, apologising for his accent combining with the cold causing him to sound like a Clanger wearing a balaclava.

Perhaps the malady has effected Bishop’s memory as having briefly touched on football and music he seems to have forgotten that his show is about Liverpudlian achievements and attractions and spends most of his show talking about himself and his children.

There is a thinly veiled arrogance which is slightly off putting as Bishop tells us about the successes of his Fringe show last year, of his skill at football, his previous job as a sales and marketing director and the fact that he is providing his children with much better opportunities than he was ever afforded.

Bishop is saved by his charm. He seems unaware that he is self-congratulatory, and throws in the odd self deprecating story which goes some way to balance the tone. There is a real feeling that Bishop wants to be bigger and better known than he is, and he has the audience hooting with laughter as he informs them that he was put firmly in his place by one of his own flyering team last year who tried to sell him tickets for his own show. But even that story can’t conclude without him pointing out that he has been upgraded to a bigger and better venue this year.

The stories may be tinged with smugness but they are equally laced with laughs. Bishop takes a conversational approach to his delivery, and not all of his material leads to a point or a punchline but it all contains opportunities for giggles.

It is an entertaining hour with a clever and well-produced concluding section which again focuses on Bishop’s dreams and ego rather than the Capital of Culture. But if he can sell the city as well as he sells himself expect Liverpool to become the newest holiday hotspot.

Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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