at the Warwick Arts Centre * * *
Review by Simon Harper
Of any theatre gatherings, the hordes packed into Warwick Arts Centre for Jeremy Hardy’s latest show must constitute the most typically "Radio 4" audience that you could reasonably expect for a stand-up performance.
Certainly anybody familiar with his myriad performances on BBC Radio – whether it’s Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, The News Quiz or I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue – will be well aware of his political leanings.
Standing firmly on the left of the political spectrum, Hardy rails most explicitly against the BNP, while also riffing eloquently on the thorny subjects of religion, sexuality and Margaret Thatcher.
An intelligent and literate performer, Hardy takes on these subjects and manages to weave whimsical tales which both entertain and provoke thought.
While some stand-ups stalk the stage with their microphone in hand, Hardy instead prefers to stay next to the mic stand with his arms folded. Ironically this is quite distracting, as though the absence of any movement is highlighted by his rigid poses.
Hardy is naturally a shambling performer, and sometimes this is charming, but on a riff about the army it falls flat.
There are some incredibly funny moments though – his observations about how people display emotions are both hilarious and philosophical, and in a moment of poignancy he talks candidly about his friendship with the late Linda Smith.
With an almost preacher-like delivery, Hardy is an outstanding comedian, although this show often appears to be less of an effective live stand-up performance than merely an amusing lecture.