Stewart Lee, Warwick Arts Centre, May 24.
WHAT began as an evening of extremely clever and thoroughly thought-through comedy unfortunately did not continue that way.
Stewart Lee will not allow anyone in the audience to ‘not get’ a single joke during the show, as he insists on going back over, ripping apart and piecing back together in (almost painful) detail every single one.
For the first 40 minutes or so, this seems very well-researched, precisely constructed and purposeful and I appreciate the way he clearly thinks very carefully about whatever he says and the different layers of meaning within that. He makes some pertinent points about our prejudices and assumptions and modern life in general and catches out anyone who might be laughing for the ‘wrong’ reason.
From then on, I’m afraid, it just gets boring. Never one to miss anything, Lee is well aware that he has a reputation of ‘going on a bit’ and so he warns us that that’s what he will do. But he doesn’t go on a bit. He goes on a lot. Yes, I know this is all part of his style and he’s doing it to make a point and it’s all leading to an intelligent and multi-layered conclusion. Despite all this, for me, by the time he gets to that conclusion, I just don’t care anymore. I’m bored. A very long-laboured joke about Twitter turns into a big rant, full of unneccessary repetitive swearing, and a mocking of the retail sector’s misuse of the words ‘World of ...’ in shop names is just Lee saying the same things again and again for 30 minutes or so.
Having said that, the arts centre’s Butterworth Hall was full and there was a lot of laughter around me. Perhaps I just didn’t ‘get’ it.
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Weather for Warwick
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North