Review: The Further Adventures Of…Josh Widdicombe – Pleasance Beneath, Edinburgh.
Tousle-haired Josh Widdicombe is a pleasing mix of nostalgia and – bizarrely – food-related observations. He’s got some tasty material, too, in this hour-long follow-up to his 2011 Best Newcomer nomination.
It’s all about the styling here; the timing, the delivery, the tone. Widdicombe perfects his movements on stage to the extent that it’s impossible not to laugh, even when faced with forced ‘Don’t you just hate it when…’ set-ups – or the odd uninspiring routine about why it’s pointless owning an iPhone given its short battery life…
There’s a touch of the McIntyre about Widdicombe, though, as he takes moments so familiar that you don’t really consider how odd they are and then exposes them. Remember whistle-shaped sweets from chemists? Well, Widdicombe’s got a routine about them. And with contemporary gags about ‘Nando’s behaviour’, giant Toblerones and Kellogg’s Variety Packs – amongst others – the crowd are lapping him up tonight.
For me, this hour isn’t anything particularly new, but it’s done well. He’s a skilled comedian is Widdicombe; his material is about as polished as you’ll see in Edinburgh, and he riffs nicely with the audience, spending at least ten minutes at the top getting the crowd onside.
But despite the methodical approach to which he constructs his material, disappointingly there’s very little structure to the show. Weaving these observations into a narrative might help close the hour a little better; instead, it just tails off into an unsatisfying conclusion starved of laughs.
Widdicombe’s clearly going places; Mock The Week is waiting. At times, his shtick is accessible, fun and easy-going – and you could do worse than spending an hour with this man. But while The Further Adventures of…Josh Widdicombe is a decent enough hour from comedy’s next big thing, tonight I’m a little unsatisfied.
To use an analogy Widdicombe himself might appreciate, I’ve just had my starter, and now I’m hungry for more.
Date of live review: Wednesday 15th August 2012.