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Rob Rouse: The Great Escape

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Nione Meakin

Sometimes accused of not living up to his full potential, Rob Rouse finally seems to have hit his stride with this joyous rollercoaster of a show.

From the starting point of moving his family to the Peak District to escape the cost and claustophobia of London, the former geography teacher spins a wild and totally enthralling yarn that harnesses his manic energy to great effect.

Rouse has a real talent for characterisation and by creating a one-man soap opera (think The Archers crossed with Shameless) gives himself plenty of opportunity to show off these skills. One moment he's an anthropomorphic Polish dog, the next he's a man known locally as Roadkill Bill.

In between, he manages to crowbar in some more generic segments about his wife's parking technique, the horrors of potty training and a riotous swipe at the TV news coverage of the volcanic ash chaos.

The gurning and silly dancing is nicely balanced by a dry, sardonic humour; a gag likening geography to substance abuse just keeps running and a description of an embarrassing trip to the chemist threatens to send the audience into actual hysteria.

The grand finale is slightly over-ambitious, attempting and not quite managing to emulate the sort of full-speed, multiple call-back crescendo of Rhod Gilbert's shows, but by this point we're laughing too hard to really nit-pick about such things.

It's testament to the show's success that Rouse has got most of the audience up and dancing as he exits the stage - and it's one way of guaranteeing yourself a standing ovation. Brilliant, uplifting fun that shows just what Rouse can achieve when he sets his mind to it.

Review date: 13 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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