Review: Milton Jones, Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Entering the stage dressed as Great Britain, Milton Jones tickled the audience by discussing the ease of ventriloquism in the dark, Brexit and a well-received Harvey Weinstein joke.
“Welcome to the greatest comedian in Great Britain, in this venue, so far this evening,” he announced in a lower voice.
Throughout the 53-year-old’s performance a chorus of laughter filled the Wolverhampton Civic Hall like an out of time a capella group. A wave of low chuckles instinctively followed immediately after each of his jokes which were escalated by those who actually understood it, following on with an uproar of laughter from the original group who finally do get it.
It seems you either get the witty one-liners from the crazy-haired quirky Surrey-born comedian in colourful shirts or you don’t, and the audience hung on to every word in his quick-fire delivery in desperation to not miss out.
His deadpan and dry style, unique and unchanged since he won the Perrier comedy award for best newcomer in 1996, disarmed keen listeners with his unexpected play on words. He is truly a master of puns.
Milton’s show touched on family, his garden, favourite places, advice to his six-year-old self and images that make him angry. It followed his storyline that those topics were recommended by his new PR person Becky, hired to help him make it big in movies.
He waited for a call from a big Hollywood producer and it was pleasant to listen to a tasteful Weinstein joke amid sexual harassment claims against him, at a time of an utterly ill-humoured one from Michael Gove on BBC Radio 4.
His stunt with talking flags touched on Brexit and Scottish independence was sandwiched in the middle of the performance and was equally silly but less funny.
He was introduced by Wolverhampton-born Cannock lad Chris Stokes, who made the BBC New Talent Hot-List 2017 and enthusiastically bounced off the audience knowing the area like him.
His longer more anecdotal comedic style warmed up the audience nicely for Milton who tied in some of his punch lines well with Chris on subjects as peculiar as the both of them, such as ninja seagulls.
Milton is mostly known as the silent but sharp and certainly strangest stand out comedian on BBC 2’s Mock the Week but is now travelling the country for the Milton Jones is Out There tour.
After many jokes, he picked up on the necessity to pause in silence and continued to stare out from stage with wide eyes and a raised eyebrow while his eyes flicking from left to right, waiting for people to get it.
No doubt, he was hilarious but it was not side-splitting for me, yet at one point, a woman was howling with seemingly unstoppable laughter.
“Are you laying an egg? What part are you up to?” He joked, teasing about many of the audience's failure to keep up with him.
Another joined later on through the hall that was full in the front rows but filtered out towards the back. The laughter was contagious.
“Are you all mad?”
I have to admit, some of the jokes went right over my head, but were met with great appreciation by the rest of the crowd.
An insight into the audience’s psyche in Wolverhampton was revealed as crayons, Trump, missiles, ghosts, cabbages and grandfathers were shouted out as topics for him as he invited them to test his improvisation skills.
Mirroring the rest of the show, he delivered the responses ease and wit, throwing in some old jokes as a buffer but this did not seem to faze the audience who loved him.
He finished with his signature slight bow and hands up to the audience.