Edward James

Review: Phil Nichol: The Weary Land – Baltic Square, Gateshead Quays

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Phil Nichol takes a slightly different approach to tonight’s headline show at Jesterval: he eschews the use of a microphone throughout.

This choice, coupled with the pitch black introduction to the show, makes for an extremely intimate hour of personal storytelling.

If you’ve seen Phil Nichol before you may be surprised to see him sat, calmly, at a table in the middle of the stage. The high-energy, loudmouth brash Canadian attitude that he’s known for appears only twice in the entire show.

In its place is an introspective look back at Nichol’s life, friends, and love interests, brought on by a near-death experience while touring in Afghanistan entertaining the armed forces.

From his birth in Scotland, through his Christian upbringing, move to Canada, first love, early success, marriage, drink, drugs, breakdowns and breakups, Nichol weaves a compelling story with moments of shock, horror, awe, and of course laughter. In spades.

An endearingly close look into the mind and history of one the UK’s favourite cult comedians, The Weary Land is the best show I’ve seen this year.

In fact, it’s up there with some of my all-time favourites.

Date of live review: Sunday 6 October 2013