Rich Hall at De Montfort Hall, April 25th.
Watching Rich Hall on TV, you rarely get the opportunity to see him open up and rant. It’s a shame, because he’s at his best when he’s stringing together frazzled tirades ripping on the ridiculous stuff that gets caught up in both US and UK culture – though he’s better on the American angle, and in particular, his ‘banning masturbation in Delaware’ piece was very funny. He gives every appearance of being a staunch Anglophile - though maybe that’s tempered when he’s on stage in Texas - and some of his riffs on US politics provide the highlights of the opening half.
As always he improvises around audience members. Although, with a front row that appeared to be made up solely of IT workers and a teacher that taught ‘everything’, isn’t it about time theatres began introducing employment questionnaires to potential ticket purchasers. Maybe reserving the front couple of rows for stuntmen, jet fighter pilots and taxidermists, might be an idea worth pursuing.
The second half of the show was better still. Music plays a big part in Hall’s repertoire, and he’s more than comfortable using it as a vehicle for his comedy. The final twenty minutes of the show is given over to improvised songs about audience members, and the ditty about the two students (Ben and Rebecca) getting married was both witty and genuinely touching, especially when he produced the ring - and his final song about the declining Bob Dylan was a blast, and all too true. Having witnesses a Dylan ‘show’ relatively recently, I can only agree with Hall’s line ‘I wanted everyone’s money back’.