Rob Deering: The One

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

Rob Deering has got a lot of kit on stage: keyboard, drum kit (of sorts), congas, effects and looping pedals, mixing desk, guitar, cowbells... yet pretty much all of it gets in the way of the comedy, rather than enhancing it.

Every musical number – even a quickie – involves him using the sampling technology to lay down several tracks as bedding... and after the first couple it becomes a tiresome bit of business to get through, rather than a fun part of the show. The hour becomes too much about a muso noodling about with his toys rather than a comic maximising the laughs.

Deering has always sat between the two camps, and here, more than ever, he uses his million-watt charm to keep the audience entertained rather than a searing wit to keep them laughing. Few are better at making the crowd go ‘wa-hay!’ on cue than him, for example.

Even so, many in the room tonight seem immune to his jolly, non-threatening banter, and the atmosphere never really catches light, leaving the lack of substance exposed. An unnecessary interval 20 minutes in dissipates what little mood he had built up too – although that may very well not have been his decision.

As a musical comic, Deering vowed never to go for cliched lyric-swaps or easy pastiche, though he finds the lure just a little too irresistible - with the likes of I’m A Survivor going through his rewrite mill – although thankfully he doesn’t depend on such cheap tricks too much. The highlight of the hour is him exposing how early Nineties ‘Manchester beat’ songs all had exactly the same riffs – and the same women singing over them.

Of his own compositions, the tone tends to be mildly good-humoured, comparing the process of performing a show to performing in bed, or littering the words to another sng with some vaguely suggestive double entendres. He’s got two or three genuinely funny jokes, which admittedly he milks in his self-consciously cheesy manner, but that only goes to show how much the rest of the show is lightweight badinage.

Those looking for themes and meanings probably chose the wrong show... there’s a bit about him turning 40 and being in no fit state to run the marathon he signed up for, and something about crowdsourcing that served only as a springboard for him to assemble an ad-hoc band from the audience. In short doses all these light-hearted components are fine, but don’t add up to much. Still at least those who confuse The One with The One Show won’t be out of their depth...

Review date: 13 Feb 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Leicester Just The Tonic

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