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Justin Moorhouse: Seven - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Corry Shaw

This is not clever comedy, as Justin Moorhouse proudly states as he twinkles on to the stage. He is not a comedian who will tackle controversial issues or make you question your deepest held beliefs. He is a comedian who will tell jokes you will try desperately to remember around the coffee machine the next day.

Moorhouse is a master at what he does, and there is something deeply joyful about an hour of simple, honest japery. He has previously been likened, dismissively, as a stereotypical Northern working men’s club comic, a label he has taken umbrage at, and sets about disproving in this show. Behind the cheeky smile there is a real sense that the critic who compared him to ‘Roy Chubby Brown singing Coldplay’ has genuinely hit a nerve. There is a loose sub-theme to the show, focusing on that quote.

But this is not an indulgent right to reply. The main thrust of the show is based on Christopher Booker’s book The Seven Basic Plots, which suggests that all stories throughout time have been based on one of seven general themes such as tragedy, comedy or revenge. Form that starting point, Moorhouse compares his own struggles and anecdotes with some well-known bestsellers.

A personable act who is not shy to admit to his own weaknesses, Moorhouse is able to create empathy without pity. The few lulls in the show arise when he strays into slightly edgier or more cerebral material, and even then are quickly broken with a grin and a quick one-liner about someone in the audience’s choice of rugby team.

This is where Moorhouse rises like the comedy cream. His skill at engaging with his audience is sublime, he will banter and tease like any club comic worth his salt but he never bullies and his audience seem keen to interact with him. A true gentleman of the stage.

Yes, jokes about pooing or human statues are never going to break the mould, but when done well they will make you laugh harder than a half-hearted rant about the history of fascism. Revel in the glee and give into your silly side. Brilliant, honest and joyful comedy.

Review date: 9 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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