Gary Delaney: There’s Something About Gary, Oakengates Theatre, Telford - review
Quiet, unassuming and a perfectly ordinary guy, Gary Delaney somewhat breaks the mould when it comes to putting on a comedy show.
He has made his name as a sharp one-liner – and as one of my favourite panellists on Mock the Week I was really looking forward to seeing how that would translate into a full night’s show at Telford’s Oakengates Theatre.
But straight away it was clear that Delaney was going to take things at his own pace and in his own direction.
It’s not often you walk into the theatre and see the comedian’s jokes appearing in a series of tweets on the big screen at the back of the stage. But then, this was no ordinary comedy show.
Delaney walked out on stage and pulled apart the “convention” of how a comedy show should be structured.
He doesn’t go for the banter with the front row – although when he got drawn into it, it went extremely well.
He picked apart the geographical tribalism relied on by comedians – and when Dawley became the crowd’s target of choice Delaney got caught out by one wag from the audience deliberately misspelling it.
He announced that his opening slot would basically be trying out material for his next tour, and the jokes that got the best response would make the cut.
Once Delaney reeled those off, on came support act Caimh McDonnell and within half an hour of the gig starting we’d reached the interval.
But once we were under way again it was the totally stripped back and relaxed approach – so in contrast with over-excited and high tempo acts that are ten-a-penny on television – that really set Delaney apart.
It felt like he had walked into a pub to have a chat and the audience was his mate.
Yes there were one-line gags, and plenty of them. They gradually pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable – and to Delaney’s delight the audience had a high threshold for his dark and depraved mind.
He split his show between runs of one-liners and cutting to slide shows on the big screen of pictures he had taken on his travels with funny stories to be told.
After more one-liners he shared one of his favourite passions – doctoring Wikipedia pages and seeing how long his changes would last before being spotted. The audience lapped it all up.
In contrast, McDonnell had brought his frantic descriptions of angry people being tortured by Gay Pride celebrations in Birmingham and his own description of being mugged in London – and making life somewhat more difficult for the thief than he had bargained for. A very entertaining cameo.
Delaney is coming to the end of his mammoth tour, although there is still time to catch him at Wyeside Arts Centre in Builth Wells on Wednesday.
Despite admitting to his fatigue at the end, he seemed genuinely touched that the crowd had stayed with him all the way and had a good laugh.
The feeling was mutual.