Review: Andy Hamilton – Change Management

EXPERIENCED comedy writer Andy Hamilton has swapped his pen for a microphone in
his new stand up show, Change Management. Last night (October 26) he performed at The Lowry in Salford.

Throughout a thought provoking two hours, Hamilton discusses multiple changes that have occurred during his life time. In an elder statesman’s tone, he uses humorous anecdotes to compare modern life to his childhood experiences. Strolling from subject to subject, he bemoans what the world has become, telling stories to illustrate his points, inducing ripples of laughter from the audience along the way.

Hamilton’s varied comedy career has seen him write many well-known sit-coms, voice cartoons, act in a range of roles and appear on several panel shows, however, this variation did not translate to his audience. Hamilton himself demonstrates this by asking who listened to Radio 4 regularly, to which most of the room raised their hand. Obviously expecting theatres to be glinting with bifocals, his material is tailored to appeal to such an age group, making his anecdotes easily relatable for the majority. The Lowry’s modern theatre was hijacked with archaic points of view.

For the first half of the show Hamilton dips into his own nostalgia, pulling out a mix of stories. Harking back to his childhood, he fondly recalls the days of corporal punishment and the carefree attitude to health and safety. He also dives into subjects rarely touched by comedy in discussing the aftermath of the Second World War and the subsequent Cold War. The routine comes to a head when he recalls a hilariously brutal line from his father from a night during the Cold War: “We could be all gone by tomorrow, goodnight.”

After the interval Hamilton moves into a slick political routine, which, unlike the rest of the show, is structured more around jokes. This section evolves into his despair at modern life with quibbles, too polite to be called rants, about sport, smartphones and marketing. Neat one-liners to end anecdotes send waves of laughter around the theatre, however, there isn’t any punchlines that generate a roaring response. Whereas the first half of the show is a satisfying starter, the second half needs to kick on or build towards a significant finale. Instead the pace Hamilton dictates, along with the length of the show, means that energy dwindles. His show comes to an offbeat conclusion as he attempts to orchestrate the audience into a rendition of ‘Ging Gang Goolie’ to the tune of the German national anthem. However, due to the general lack of intensity in the show it’s understandable that, in last night’s case, the audience were rather reluctant to respond.

Having not been subjected to years of hard graft on the comedy circuit, Hamilton, in just his second solo show, lacks some of the finesse, timing and instinct that other stand ups possess. He refrains from speaking one on one with any audience member, a mistake as it would have benefitted his show by changing the pace and allowing Hamilton to demonstrate his improvisation skills. His performance fails to ignite energy in his audience, never really creating thunderous laughter. Despite this, Hamilton’s mellow delivery and undeniable charm allows for a pleasant evening of amusing stories that allow the audience to sit back and listen.



Upcoming Gig Reviews

So I’ve done one review on this blog so far, hopefully you checked it out, if not you can do so here. I just wanted to let you know what I’ve got coming up at The Lowry in Salford, so if something interests you then you’ll be able to pop back to check it out.

Andy Hamilton 26th October

After watching him on a whole host of panel shows I’m looking forward to seeing Andy’s stand up. He seems an intelligent chap so I’m expecting his new show, Change Management, to be well thought out. He hasn’t performed stand up for a number of years and might be a little rusty, but he’ll surely know what he’s going into, so I presume he’ll have prepared his show meticulously. His strength is in his comedic writing, having worked on many famous sitcoms, most recently Outnumbered and Ballot Monkeys. His show looks back on all the changes that have occurred to us over the last 60 years. I expect it to be both insightful and funny.


Sean Kelly 29th October

I can’t wait for this. For those who don’t recognise the name, he’s the auctioneer from storage hunters, and if you still don’t know what I’m talking about get watching it on Dave immediately, it’s bound to be on. As it’s his first tour over here, he won’t be as familiar with a UK audience compared to his usual American audience, but this also means we wont be familiar with him, allowing him to serve up his best material amassed over his 16 year career. He was born in Germany (yeah I research) and has held a number of jobs before becoming a comedian, so I expect his material to be varied. Admittedly I struggle to relate to american comedians, despite this I have high hopes for his show.



Stewart Francis 3rd November

One of the few pun maestros on the circuit, his gags are always well thought out and he squeezes his material to create several punchlines from the same set up. His popularity has slowly grown in the last few years and to keep up with demand he’s added extra dates to his Pun Gent tour. You know what you’re going to get good jokes with Stewart Francis and you know it’ll be funny, but I hope he ventures into something a little different.



Dave Gorman 10th NovemberDave_Gorman

One of my favourite comedians at the moment and I’m not his only fan. His show on Dave, Modern Life is Goodish, in which he expertly explores our day to day life, spotting quirks and nonsense that we all fail to notice, has amassed a huge following. His recent stand up shows are accompanied by a powerpoint which, for him, works incredibly well as it illustrates his sometimes quite convoluted routines. My face resembled his picture when I found out I was seeing him.


For each of these shows I’ll be writing a review for my Universities’ website Quays News which will be published the following day. Of course I’ll post it on here as well, adding a bit more detail.

Thanks for coming and please call back soon. If you’d like to share on your way out as well that would be most helpful.

Review: Tony Vino Live

TONY VINO has joined Tim Vine partway through his latest stand up tour, Tim Timee Tim Tim Timee To You. Last Friday they performed at Bradford’s St Georges Hall and I was lucky enough to be there.

Upon seeing Tony Vino’s name on the poster I was quite disappointed. I really wanted to see Tim Vine’s usual warm up act John Archer, but I was willing to give Vino a go.

Strolling out into the spotlight of the small, traditional theatre, Vino was confronted by an initially cold audience in anticipation for the headliner Tim Vine. However, he was clearly aware of his audience as his set started with a Yorkshire focused routine, slamming nearby towns and imitating the accent, risky, but executed in a charming way to get the audience onside.

His half hour of material was tight and well rehearsed. Anecdotes about his parents and travels while on tour were sprinkled with gags to keep the laughter going, and his friendly tone allowed the audience to warm to him easily. He kept his comedy clean, in keeping with Tim Vine’s style who would be stepping on stage later.

A particular anecdote concerning the price of a ticket to see The Lion King theatre production really livened up his show. He asked the audience what they thought of the £60 tickets. This resulted in the Bradford crowd responding in a hilariously stereotypical manner. He was quick to respond to any heckles, but his responses weren’t the most original, despite this, they did the trick, allowing him to control the room comfortably.

Vino ended his show off the back of his Lion King anecdote by imitating a grand spectacle from the show. Four burly men were dragged up on stage and told to lean back on chairs, later taken away meaning they had to hold each others weight. Animal masks were then thrown off stage, caught by clearly reluctant audience members who were then forced to dance awkwardly on stage. Confetti blasters, a cuddly toy lion and the circle of life echoing round the theatre, completed the pathetic scene to prolonged laughter.

As the show petered out, Vino held a stare at an audience member who had been charged with firing confetti into the air. “It’s duff!” bellowed a broad Yorkshire accent to which Vino grabbed the blaster and fired it into the front row.

If a chance comes across to see Tony Vino, go and see him. His delivery is easy going and he offers a fun uplifting night. Check out his website here.Check out his website here.