Lloyd Langford: Old Fashioned | Review by Jay Richardson
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Lloyd Langford: Old Fashioned

Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Jay Richardson

As an old soul trapped in a 30-year-old's body, there's an endearingness to Lloyd Langford that allows him to string together unconnected observations of variable quality on the pretext that he's a bit of a grump, while never truly convincing you that's the case.

This arbitrary split of his personality is apparent from the beginning, as he unveils a list of five of his likes and dislikes, with each choice as fundamental or frivolous to his being as the next.

He likes Edinburgh though. And while plenty of comics have seized upon the city's pandas as a source of amusement, he's considered them more deeply than most, contemplating the resentment of the zoo's former stars, the penguins, the bears' misguided reliance on bamboo and their potential involvement in Operation Yewtree.

At his best, the Welshman reaches beyond stock observation to a level of metaphysical enquiry, acquiring the demeanour of a wise fool. An unpromising setup about his love of soup, and the 'Grandad' nickname it earned him, develops into a sharp reflection on the relative, temporal nature of religious faith.

His gripe about e-cigarettes is perfect, brilliantly encapsulating in a single line their bizarre essence. With his appreciation for drinking real ale from a metal tankard, you envisage that someday, some traditional pub is going to be greatly enlivened by the occasional, off-kilter philosophies offered from his chair by the fire.

Elsewhere though, as when he's simply dismissing hair conditioner, you'll marvel that he's still criticising it after five minutes without ever coming close to a punchline that feels worthy of the effort. Equally, I could do with a few less Dubai routines from comics who've performed there, the international equivalent of service station material.

While he's undoubtedly correct to suggest that there's a romance about opium that doesn't extend to heroin, and that cocaine has relinquished some of its glamour, he isn't persuading anyone that semantics are responsible for him abstaining. Put bluntly, he never seems that crotchety or out of touch with mainstream behaviour for someone his age. Even his beloved soul and blues collection was sourced through the internet, he admits. This isn't hypocrisy so much as conformity.

All of which is probably thinking too hard about a mostly enjoyable hour of stand-up performed by a likeable comic.

That said, his ending, where he ventures his more progressive ideas is decidedly odd.

After admiring the capriciousness of his girlfriend's father, which found him on a farm pretending to have special needs to maintain the old man's lies, he rails with uncharacteristic fervour against the Royal Family. His unabashed Republican irritation feels refreshingly real, a deeply held conviction.

Regrettably, it emboldens him into sympathising with a murderer who killed someone in a cinema just for texting. Nobody's denying a certain amount of empathy with the assassin. But delivered baldly, with 'no subtext', at the end of the show, it's the quintessential lead balloon. And no amount of foregrounding the irony of expecting an audience to chuckle at audience murder can really dig him out.

Review date: 2 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson
Reviewed at: Pleasance Dome

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