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John Bishop: Elvis Has Left The Building - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Julian Hall

You’d be hard pushed to leave a John Bishop gig without feeling that your spirits had been lifted, even a little. However, given this capacity to give a crowd a boost, it’s a pity that the consummate Liverpudlian comic’s latest offering never really sees him with the wind beneath his wings.

After a couple of Edinburgh shows where Bishop managed to put his head over the bar of just being a solid circuit comic, this latest offering, tenuously based on a documentary he watched about the life of Elvis, is disappointingly pedestrian.

Essentially Elvis is used a motif for mid-life crisis and then abandoned about halfway through after Bishop has lamented his poor attendance at the gym and confessed that fashion choices for the over 40s are limited. Then follows an equally so-so routine where Bishop tries to avoid revealing to his father that he is a member of the RAC and therefore mechanically inept when it comes to cars. He likens the predicament to what it would be like if he had to reveal to his father that he was gay. It’s not an offensive routine but it is certainly over-egged.

A sense of machismo is always present in Bishop’s sets and while it is never overbearing we have to indulge him here and there. This is never more true than when he is talking about his beloved Liverpool FC. I am sure that there were some in the audience that would have enjoyed his tale of playing in a charity match alongside the Anfield greats less than I did. Nevertheless, if Bishop can successfully hold your attention here it helps his payoff where he manages to intertwine Elvis and his own exploits on the football pitch.

Ultimately, the material that rests best on the broad shoulders of this comic is from the home hearth and in particular the relationship with his three sons, here depicted as both confrontational and then conspiratorial when they help him obscure from their mother their father’s internet porn usage.

It’s never a chore to spend an hour in the company of this charming performer, although if the outcome of it were deliberated upon by a pools panel, they might consider it a scoreless draw.

Review date: 8 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Julian Hall

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