Paul Tonkinson, Norwich
Paul Tonkinson and his two support acts quickly realised at there was a taste boundary which could not be crossed.
Comics in Norwich struggle with audiences seeming to dislike too much vulgarity. Certainly Paul Tonkinson, best known for his stint as a Big Breakfast presenter on Channel 4, and his two support acts, Michael McIntyre and the Italian Stefano, quickly realised at Norwich Playhouse there was a taste boundary which could not be crossed.
Admittedly corporate entertainment saw a somewhat surprising crowd – which all the comics played up to – yet you did feel it stifled their acts as they tried to coax laughter out of the more mature members of the audience. I don't think it's because we're stuffy in Norfolk – most of us have a very earthy sense of humour – and I don't suppose we're any different to an audience in Salisbury or York but comedians have to work hard to warm us up.
As the more experienced, Tonkinson found his feet the quickest and his well-worn routine saw him use his favourite characters including a wife who sounds like Orville the duck, a homophobic grandfather and a money-obsessed, Liverpudlian friend.
Sure, none of it is terribly original but with scrawny Tonkinson it's his delivery and mannerisms that get you as much as anything and we were soon chortling away as he ranted about school days and chat-up lines.
Michael McIntyre presents himself as a posh bloke from London but his act is fairly obvious with observations on life ranging from the Venus and Mars differences to Irish oddities while Stefano gave us good musical impressions and took a sideways look at Anglo-Italian relationships.
Interestingly, they stayed off politics and religion which is surely a good thing and preferred to gently ridicule us and our supposed middle-class cosiness. And those that can take this subtle teasing are all the richer for it. Go and support these comics – you'll enjoy yourselves!
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