Lee Evans, Norwich

JOHN LAWSON What an overwhelming sense of power it must give you to have 1400 people doubled up with laughter for close on two hours.

JOHN LAWSON

What an overwhelming sense of power it must give you to have 1400 people doubled up with laughter for close on two hours.

The Lee Evans ticket was one of the hottest of the year so far with people clamouring for returns even as the curtain was rising at both performances.

Evans is out of the finest traditions of British clowning – as physical as Norman Wisdom, as observational as Billy Connolly, and a joke-telling specialist to match Ken Dodd.

He grasshoppers from subject to subject, making you feel like the whole thing is coming right off the cuff and races around the stage like a whirling dervish on acid.

From mainstream gags to surreal visions of life and back again, some of the most memorable moments are those that leave the most off-the-wall pictures dancing before your eyes – like the palm trees shivering under blankets on the English Riviera in Torquay, the racks of "whale music" in shops "but you never see them on tour do you?", and the drivers who think the handbrake is an air freshener "because that burning smell disappears whenever they press the button".

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Evans has enjoyed mixed success in his Hollywood film career and TV sitcoms have so far failed to do him justice.

But give him a microphone and a stage and the standing ovations will follow. As a live performer he is a national treasure.

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