The Comedy Store, Norwich

JOHN LAWSON The nation's seminal comedy club returned for its third visit to the Forum – and, once again, an A-list line-up ensured another sell-out.

JOHN LAWSON

The nation's seminal comedy club returned for its third visit to the Forum – and, once again, an A-list line-up ensured another sell-out.

The co-operative nature of the store means there is barely lip-service paid to “topping the bill”.

How else could you expect to find the sublime Milton Jones opening proceedings.


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Jones is the unmatched king of the one-liners, his surreal twisting of the everyday phrase painting some amazing patterns in vocabulary and some equally bizarre pictures in the mind's eye.

He brings into sharp focus just how ridiculous the English language can be if taken to its illogical conclusion.

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He may stand on stage looking dazed and confused, but the pace at which he flits from one gag to the next requires an inventive mind of the highest calibre.

Paul Zerdin is undoubtedly the most technically gifted and entertaining ventril-oquist of his generation – and probably Britain's greatest vent talent since Ray Allen and Lord Charles.

He is out of the old school of ventriloquists with the oft-travelled paths about things being “easy for you to say” and where his hand is in the dummy – but he is no less enjoyable for that.

His characters Sam and Albert are hugely endearing but the biggest laughs of all were reserved for when he attached a hydraulic vent mouth to a member of the audience to speak for him.

Roger Monkhouse made an engaging compere, building up an instant rapport with his audience and dropping some great and very novel material in among the likeable patter.

Very much providing the motorway services filler in an otherwise gourmet club sandwich was Dave Hadingham, whose act lacked originality and had few strong punchlines.

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