Review: Rich Hall

Americans are all too often the butt of easy jokes these days. Rich Hall is one very good reason why they shouldn't be.

Caustic and erudite, Hall is a brilliant comedian and a none too shabby musician who tonight delighted a sell-out audience at the Norwich Playhouse at the start of a completely packed four night run.

His improvisational skills were brilliantly showcased in the second half with a series of songs based on audience members; the woeful ballad of Tom from IT was particularly enjoyable. His impromptu attempt to explain the Republican primaries fared less well - Mitt and Newt might have been better if they had been one of the better puns from the ditty: mute.

But the first half was classic standup, with Hall celebrating his love for British life and our charmingly pessimistic ways. The miserable anticipation of the Olympics came in for special attention, as did our willingness to laugh at the blackest of situations.

In most gigs it takes the audience a while to warm up, with the real laughs not coming till the second half - unkinder critics might say helped by internal drinks. That's not the case with Hall, who was eliciting belly laughs from the off and hit a perfect note with his humour - if not always his singing - throughout.

The run is sold out, but if you can beg, borrow or steal a ticket it's well worth hearing him for yourself.