Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hairs on your chest - review of Chris Addison

CHRIS ADDISON at The Corn Exchange, Newbury on Thursday, February 7, 2013

THERE’S something about Chris Addison that brings out my maternal side (yes offspring, I do have one. Stop sniggering). It’s the angelic face that belies his 41 years that does it, I think. I hope he’s eating well on tour, as he is very slim - although my sister pointed out that his television appearances mainly involve him wearing a suit (as special advisor Ollie Reeder in The Thick Of It) or behind a desk (on Mock The Week), so that is probably his default shape.

I think I may have to send him a tonic to build himself up. He doesn’t need one to put hairs on his chest, that’s for sure. The unexpected combination of cherubic visage and hairs peeking out through his loose top shirt button hasn’t escaped my attention.

But I didn’t just come here to deconstruct Addison’s appearance. I did tear my eyes away from his chest for long enough to focus on the show that has bought him back to Newbury to sell out The Corn Exchange. Called The Time Is Now Again, it follows on from his previous show, The Time Is Now (bet you couldn’t have guessed that) in its scathing look at modern society - but this time it’s political.

Addison’s bon mots fire cross-party, but it was mainly the Tories that got it in the neck, which didn’t go down with gales of laughter from the entire auditorium; however, Addison is aware that his core audience are savvy Radio 4 listeners, so hey - he probably reckons they can take it, even if they don’t agree entirely with the sentiment.

Anyway, that sort of fits in with the main theme of Addison’s show, which was the idea that most people decide what their core beliefs are at a young age - political stance, opinion on the Royal Family and so on - and then chose to absorb the media messages which reflect these, without ever reassessing them.

Addison constantly carries out such introspection himself; as a self-styled “semi celebrity”, he is aware that his decisions are judged, as reflected in his sign-off alluding to his starring role in insurance adverts. Fingers in other pies may be why he threatened that this could be his last stand-up tour; while quite likely that this was a joke, it would be a shame if true.

Addison is an accomplished stand-up whose circuitous tales create an off the cuff feel to a show which must in fact have been pretty well polished over the past 15 months that he has toured it. As long as he continues keeping his top button undone, I will be happy to continue seeing him windmill around the stage for a long time to come.

  • First published in the Newbury Weekly News on February 14, 2013

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