Kevin Bridges at the Hammersmith Apollo

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Kevin Bridges is the comic who struck lucky. In many ways, his affable telling of personal yarns and everyday observations is the stuff of many a comedian working the clubs, rather than touring Britain’s biggest No 1 theatres.

Strong management has certainly helped propel him to this elevated status at the ripe old age of 23, but his compelling Everyman appeal is all his own. He’s a natural on stage, effortlessly friendly but with a glint of Clydebank grit to add character, without ever straying close to the line of genuine cruelty or offence, a smattering of heartfelt Anglo-Saxon expletives aside.

English people, he claims, can find his accent impenetrable; whereas his old Scottish mates think he’s gone all la-di-da. His accent is, however, a great asset, even something as simple as putting and an extra, heavily stressed, syllable into a word like ‘toddler’ has a charm of its own.

He’s certainly not shy about milking his nation’s stereotypes, boasting of Glasgow’s appalling record on health, hardman reputation, and dogged lack of pretension, which is a source of great pride. It’s the stuff of many a stand-up routine, admittedly, and other topics such as the disappearing joy of finding pornography stashed in a hedge, the perils of a budget airline flight from Glasgow to Majorca, raucous groups of fat girls in hired limousines, are in equally familiar territory.

But even when the material verges on the obvious Bridges can be counted on to do it nicely, with a perfect summary of the situations he’s describing or an admirably wry turn of phrase – or simply because he connects so innately with his audience on a level few comics do, let alone one of his relative youth.

A particularly amusing interlude has him highlight the ridiculousness of a young comic doing Peter Kay-style reminiscences – ‘Remember when PlayStations used to have controllers with wires? What’s all that about?’ – but largely you forget about his age, given that he looks so much older than his years, and is so comfortable in himself and his comedy.

His writing still has some way to go to catch up with the irresistible stage presence, but Bridge’s stories suggest he has his feet firmly on the ground, despite his rapid ascent, while his no-frills material seems to be slowly evolving over this tour. A few recent favourites, such as his description of an empty-house party, are missing from tonight’s 70-minute set, although he still includes such reliable laugh-generators as the story of him watching his dad furtively tune to the free porn preview in the early days of Sky TV.

Bridges continues to be an assuredly solid stand-up, with enough delightful moments to pique the interest; though will still await the breakthrough into consistently more interesting material.

Review date: 11 Nov 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Eventim Apollo

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