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Steve Coogan at Canberra Theatre review.

Pommy bastard 28 March 2009 18

Steve Coogan at Canberra Theatre; I have to say straight up that I am a big fan of Coogan, and have all the Alan Partridge DVD’s and CD’s of the radio shows, including his “On the Hour” and “The day today” stuff, and rate “24 Hour Party People” as one of the best music films ever made. 

So last night then. I was a bit apprehensive as none of my family knew any of Coogan’s other characters than Alan P.  

The show kicked off promptly(ish) at 8.00 pm with the theatre half to two thirds full. I was reasonably impressed by this, as I didn’t think Coogan had that much exposure here, certainly my lot had never heard of him before I came over.

First up was Pauline Calf the Mancunian foul mouthed, over sexed, only female character. She was funny in a cringe making way and had my daughter alternatively in tears of laughter and shocked revulsion, with her tales of her sex life. Pauline also gave a reading from her new book; “She Shat Herself.” 

Next up Paul Calf beer swigging, student hating, and misanthropic. Didn’t do much for any of us, had a few moments, but had no great hook to hang his humour on. (When I’ve seen Coogan in the past, Calf has been far more violent and less understanding of the world about him, to far better effect.) 

There was then a filmed section featuring “Duncan Thickett, the worlds worse comedian”. This didn’t work well at all, as the film and sound were way out of synch. 

Tony Ferrino the “Polish” power ballad crooner, ended up the first half, and for me was the highlight of the night. The songs were cringe-makingly bad, though sung well. The lyrical humour was highlighted by contradictory backdrops which had me holding my sides with laughter. I felt so sorry for the poor girl dragged up on stage for a romantic ballad “ordinary Girl,” but I still wet myself with laughter at the song. 

The second half was all Partridge. It was great to see the old monster back on stage. The “theme” was Partridge trying to sell himself as a “motivational speaker,” on tour. (Sponsored by “Whiskas”). This worked well, and good use of props gave added bite. The Partridge routine relies a bit on you knowing his shtick, and there were some dead spots during this, when only me and a couple of others picked up the references. Also it was obvious that he had dropped Brit references and tried to shoehorn in some Aussie icons at times, to mixed success. 

His presentation of a “Live Chat Show” on Radio Norwich, by satellite link up, was hamstrung by the obvious use of pre-recorded “callers,” and although true Partridge, never quite hit the spot. The ending was abrupt and, apart from a curtain call, there was no encore.  

We left the theatre at 9.50 pm, just under two hours with a very short intermission. 

Verdict; Ok. Good. Not great.

Not bad for the money, $70 a ticket. Some parts were uproariously funny, some were as flat as a witches tit. 

Spoiled for me by being under-rehearsed, and his obvious need to have, and constant reference to,  prompt cards onstage for each of the acts (apart from Ferrino). Partridge was done entirely from cue cards. Though it was great to see the characters again, the act was a bit stale for me as I I’d seen them all before, and there was nothing new. The Ferrino skit was word for word what I saw in Plymouth in 2001, though still funny.  

6/10 must try harder. 

Let’s hope Dylan Moran is better next weekend.

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18 Responses to Steve Coogan at Canberra Theatre review.
Thumper Thumper 4:18 pm 04 Apr 09

The best stand up I’ve seen since Billy C.

Couldn’t agree more…

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 1:53 pm 04 Apr 09

Dylan Moran’s gig last night certainly blew Coogan out of the water, no real comparison. Ok, the styles are different, Coogan is a character comedian, whereas Moran is a raconteur, but the difference in quality was astounding.

Even when Moran went off the boil and lost his way he was still able to draw a few laughs on his way back. His response to heckles, though not the best I’ve ever heard, was good. He was onstage for a reasonable length of time, did an encore too, rare for a comedian that.

No props apart from his wine glass, no smoking either, has he quit?

His grossly overblown, quasi-surreal take on life, his willingness to go into full blown vernacular, his stream of consciousness were all first rate.

The best stand up I’ve seen since Billy C.

farnarkler farnarkler 6:26 pm 31 Mar 09

No wonder; Hugh Dennis is ex Cambridge footlights.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 6:26 pm 31 Mar 09

I’ll see if I can get one sent over (want a copy burned?)

I have to agree with the rest of your post, the format, having watched a few youtube clips, would translate easily, and the comedians you mention would fit the bill well.

farnarkler farnarkler 6:23 pm 31 Mar 09

There’s a ‘Too hot for TV’ DVD but I think you’d have to get a UK friend to send it over. Frankie Boyle and Hugh Dennis are too funny. It’s the one show I wish they’d copy here. I’m sure people like Shaun Micalef, Shane Borne, Glen Robbins and others could be pretty good.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 6:16 pm 31 Mar 09

Some very familiar faces there, it looks good.

Out on DVD at all? Or where can I catch it?

farnarkler farnarkler 6:12 pm 31 Mar 09

The Mighty Boosh is a bit too surreal for me. Try this:

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 6:01 pm 31 Mar 09

Can’t say I have mate, recommended?

My kids are heavily into “The Mighty Boosh” at the moment, Monty Python for the naughties.

farnarkler farnarkler 5:56 pm 31 Mar 09

It began in 06. It may well have been on when Top Gear was on so there’s no way I’d have seen it.

Ever seen Mock the week?

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 5:43 pm 31 Mar 09

I’ve not seen Saxondale either, it must have come out after I emigrated here.

I wonder if it’s out here on DVD, I’ve seen good reviews of it.

farnarkler farnarkler 5:38 pm 31 Mar 09

Never watched it. It must have been on the same time as a show I watched. Never saw it advertised on BBC 3 or 4 either.

Nambucco Deliria Nambucco Deliria 8:58 am 31 Mar 09

farnarkler said :

I see the CT had two for one offers on tickets. Coogan hasn’t done a real lot in the past few years. If you want current funny British comedy, youtube Mock the week. Brilliant stuff.

Not seen Saxondale, then?

farnarkler farnarkler 8:58 pm 30 Mar 09

I see the CT had two for one offers on tickets. Coogan hasn’t done a real lot in the past few years. If you want current funny British comedy, youtube Mock the week. Brilliant stuff.

Nambucco Deliria Nambucco Deliria 8:58 am 30 Mar 09

Pretty poor first half. Ferrino (who is meant to be Portuguese, by the way, as opposed to Polish) wasn’t funny when he first came out and fares little better today. As the one true ‘stiff’ in the Coogan canon it’s as if Coogan constantly needs to defend his valifity by trotting him out again and again. Partridge was brilliant, as usual.

astrojax astrojax 5:35 pm 29 Mar 09

must say, i found dylan moran a little disappointing when he was here last time.

martyo martyo 11:22 am 28 Mar 09

Pommy B – I’m with you. Average show considering the body of work under his belt. Still great to see the characters in real life.

The aussie references where weak to say the least. At least the Little Britain guys tried a little harder….”I’ve see you with your fanny out in fyshwick”

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 10:54 am 28 Mar 09

Stephen John “Steve” Coogan (born 14 October 1965) is an English comedian, actor, writer, and producer. His best known character in the United Kingdom is Alan Partridge, the grotesque sports reporter-turned-television chat show host-turned-regional radio presenter who featured in several television series, such as The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You… with Alan Partridge and I’m Alan Partridge. Outside the UK, Coogan is better known for his film roles.

R. Slicker R. Slicker 10:45 am 28 Mar 09

Steve who?

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