Linda Smith

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor Norwich Playhouse


What a fantastic past few months it's been for comedy at the St George's Street venue. Brilliant sets by the likes of Rich Hall and Ross Noble, and then last week's announcement that Eddie Izzard would be playing two gigs there.

The Saturday night visit of Linda Smith reinforced the Playhouse's position as one East Anglia's best comedy venues.

Linda will need little introduction to Radio 4 listeners. A staple of the station's panel games, she is a particular favourite on its long-running News Quiz where her laconic asides are a much-enjoyed element.

On stage, she comes over as a cross between Hattie Hayridge and Victoria Wood, but with rather too much of the former's slightly hesitant delivery.

A bright start saw Linda get stuck into the posh incomers of North Norfolk ("I saw a wino lying in the street in Cley with a notice saying 'anything but chardonnay'") and her account of her encounters with Anglia ("what a TV station would be like if your gran ran it"), but slipping away for swipes at Blair and Bush were perhaps not quite so effective.

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It was when Linda let her flights of fancy carry her along that she was at her funniest. Comparison between those cosy middle-class sitcoms of the Seventies and her own drab working-class life in Kent were spot-on, as were many of her one-liners.

She finished on a high with some sharp jokes aimed at Radio 4 listeners in the audience (the majority).

An entertaining night, but perhaps not a classic one.