Review: Jason Byrne

Simon ParkinAt an evening with high-energy Irish comic Jason Byrne you expect a lot of things - a relentless onslaught of in-your-face physical comedy and devil-may-care near the knuckle humour to name just two, but not usually a whodunnit.Simon Parkin

Norwich Playhouse

At an evening with high-energy Irish comic Jason Byrne you expect a lot of things - a relentless onslaught of in-your-face physical comedy and devil-may-care near the knuckle humour to name just two.

But what you don't expect, and what even he himself seemed delighted, if bemused, to have unearthed is a Agatha Christie style whodunnit.


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Not one, but two mysteries unravelled themselves as the comedian worked - or should that be worked over - the Playhouse audience.

First a riddle involving a quick changing thief of Fruit Salad sweets, then a hunt to unearth the top secret occupation of two would-be detectives.

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Both were mercilessly milked for laughs by the comic and his pressed into service unwitting stooge Ben, a young dairy farmer who probably now wishes he'd not bought tickets in the front row.

Sitting near the stage is always a danger game at any comedy show and never more so here. As a comedian, Byrne just won't be denied. He's going to make you laugh whether you like it or not.

He batters his crowds into submission with a barrage of banter, jokes, audience mickey-taking and adds in some of the slapstick too. When words fail, faces, actions or even just obscene gestures will do.

In the cold light of day it'd probably be pretty basic stuff, but added to a lightening quick wit, honed over years of live work, it had the audience in stitches right from the get-go.

Even when the material was on the well worn subjects of sex and parenting, the sheer unstoppable pace of his strike for the funny jugular, meant you couldn't help but be swept along.

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