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Karl Minns at Norwich Playhouse review - ‘Two nights isn’t enough’

PUBLISHED: 11:34 19 January 2019

Karl Minns performed a 'several laughs a minute' show. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Karl Minns performed a 'several laughs a minute' show. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Archant 2017

Despite the draw, or should I say, win of a Norwich City game, a packed Playhouse came to enjoy good-ol-boy-dun-good Karl Minns with all the brilliantly funny voices, silly wigs, costumes and daft old songs, right?

Despite the draw, or should I say, win of a Norwich City game, a packed Playhouse came to enjoy good-ol-boy-dun-good Karl Minns with all the brilliantly funny voices, silly wigs, costumes and daft old songs, right?

Wrong, my friend. But don’t be misunderstood. It was brilliant. And it was funny. Very funny. But this was the civilian Karl, dressed in jeans and t-shirt, looking you straight in the eye and telling stories of attempted suicide, bullying, depression and the struggles of inadequacy as he grew up in the cold hard streets of East Anglia inc the ghettos of Bungay.

If you’re thinking, well that sounds a laugh a minute duntet! You’d be wrong sadly. It was several laughs a minute. Laugh until your shoulders shook a minute.

This was Karl’s all-in. A show begging for acceptance. His apology for his past behaviour, an understanding of who he was as a person, as a child, as an adult still finding his place. A tour around his fluttering brain and the struggles and conquests of mental health. He’d been dealt a crappy hand, won the pot but still needed more.

The pre-show soundtrack of Belle and Sebastian was a quite apt warning. This was going to be an unknown and maybe unaccessible for some. Minns had to skate between the fact this wasn’t going to be a Nimmo Twins show, but still weaved the occasional mischievous comedic dig of the Norfolkian ways.

Those moments were the ones most appreciated by the audience, as the quick fire gags about Mulbarton were what the crowd were most comfortable with. For me, the show shone brightest in the darkest sections.

Lines about his school report, his last moments with family members and the infamous street attack, ones I won’t spoil, produced moments of theatrical magic, ones the best would die for. Hearing an audience collectively produce a gentle sigh of genuine heartbroken compassion and awe, as one, was special to be a part of.

Minns controlled the show, skilfully earned with the beautiful writing and storytelling - rising us up and letting us crash down together.

Two nights isn’t enough. I implore Karl to run it again, and if you’ve ever felt inadequate or lost, I implore you to go see it.

Someone asked on the way out - how would you describe the show?

And Karl had already nailed it. A sortabiography. He absolutely nailed it.

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