Monday, May 21, 2012

Lovely man - review of Jimeoin

Jimeoin at The Corn Exchange, Newbury, on Friday, May 4, 2012

LOVELY by name (well, the name of his current tour, anyway) and lovely by nature, Jimeoin is such a sweetheart that he even makes the job of reviewing easier by including bits in his show especially for the reviewer. Suits me, as I’m a bit lazy. So:  “Jimeoin used the whole of the stage” (said by Jimeoin as he, well, used the whole of the stage). Oh, and “he also had a dark side” - that involved him hovering around the back of the stage, near the gloomy red-lit backdrop. See, he sorted me out with a paragraph straight off. Nice one.

Jimeoin (yes, it is his real name, surname McKeown) is probably better known in Australia than the UK - having moved Down Under from Northern Ireland aged 22, he doesn’t pop up that  often on the usual British panel shows. However, his occasional stand-up appearances on UK TV help the public warm to him and his his tours and Edinburgh runs sell well (The Corn Exchange possibly being the exception - “don’t look at the people on the balcony,” he warned the audience, “they’re really shy. They’re also doing that silent laughter thing.”)

But no matter that the place wasn’t full, Jimeoin was still happy to share his laid-back attitude to life in general and comedy in particular. He flitted good-naturedly from one thought to another in the manner of the 1990s rave casualty he physically resembles. Sweet and likeable, you get the feeling that his show isn’t terribly tightly scripted, as he often goes off on interesting tangents but then needs prompting to pick up where he left off. He has a guitar on stage, but even his approach to live music is lackadaisical, with only one actual song being played on it all night, with another being performed on his iPad, which he pointed out, “would save lugging that thing [the guitar] around everywhere”.

But things aren’t as shambolic as they may appear, and Jimeoin’s slight vagueness is all part of the act. “I’m a lazy mime”, he comments, demonstrating how another, more efficient mime artist might tidy up after him, closing doors and windows he left open. And he’s happy to let his audience “drift in and out” of  his narrative. “You won’t find everything funny - but you’ve got your teeth out,” demonstrating the anticipation of laughter. It was gentle, unconfrontational comedy, whimsically drifting over a variety of everyday subjects, but presented ever so well. A reminder that sometimes, comedy is allowed to be just... well, lovely.

  • First published in Newbury Weekly News on Thursday, May 10, 2012

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