Emo Philips, Norwich

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor In the world of stand-up there are few genuine one-offs. Emo Philips is definitely one of that select band.

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor

In the world of stand-up there are few genuine one-offs. Emo Philips is definitely one of that select band.

He first sprang to prominence on these shores a decade or so ago with his bizarre medieval page-boy haircut and his even stranger wow-and-flutter delivery.

His stock-in trade then, as now, was definitely at the surreal end of humour, and audiences at his well-attended Saturday night show at Norwich Playhouse were treated to such bizarre interludes as Emo's impression of a French existentialist seagull.

Philips is now 46, and his once-trademark hairstyle has given way to spiky grey, but that strange voice and distracted delivery are still very much in evidence.

But strip away the wobbly voice and you have a comic with superb timing and some great one-liners. “I used to be scared of pretty girls… until I realised they were just as scared of me” and “I went to a kebab house for a donner, but my body rejected it” being just two.

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A broad mind was an essential requirement as Philips strayed into some very edgy territory talking about the seamier side of life. If I tell you one of the routines involved practical jokes in mortuaries, you'll begin to get the picture.

All in all, this was an at times hilarious set – but not one for your maiden aunt.

A word about the support act too. Irish comic Dara O'Briain's humour is more traditional stand-up material, with some great routines on the difference between the nations and a very good line in audience patter. I hope we'll be hearing a lot more from him.

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