Mark Allen – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Mark Allen strives to be a sort of stand-up version of QI, chosing semi-obscure historical facts and passing wry comment on them.

But he falls short because the subjects he chooses aren’t fascinating or unexpected enough to warrant further probing, so they don’t quite hold the attention like they should. Plus he’s not playful enough when dealing with them. Thus revelations such as the fact William The Conquerer was previously known as William The Bastard prove nice starting points – but then Allen doesn’t progress any further the obvious jokes about this peculiar epithet.

He has a similar comedy tone to Dave Gorman – well-read and inquisitive, but tempered by an amused mockery. But too often this attitude, likeable as it is, isn’t sharpened into strong jokes. His delivery, too, seems a bit too much like collection of techniques he has learned, rather than a reflection of his real self. So he speaks with clarity and confidence, but too little personality.

There are some amusing moments, such as his wry contrast between the World Cup hopes of English and Scottish fans, as reflected in their footballing anthems, but mostly the set just trundles on at a passable level; offering an inoffensive digression, but nothing more.

Review date: 16 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.