Paul’s not on perfect form

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Paul Merton - Out of My Head - Blackpool Grand Theatre

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Paul Merton’s return to his stand up roots for the first time this century is very much still a work in progress.

Out of My Head sees the famous face and voice and lightning wit from so many successful television and radio panel shows literally stand up (he’s taller than most of us remember) but it also means he’s got be counted – and at this early stage of what he admits is going to be a very long tour, that means it’s pretty much a hit and miss affair.

Opening with a fairly public domain joke he used to crack years ago and insisting that he was the first comedian to tell it, reveals a certain insecurity and it’s a theme which re-occurs throughout a performance which is delivered as part after dinner speech and part autobiographical confessional.

There’s nothing wrong in using selected parts of your life story as the basis of your comedy routine – it’s the stock-in trade of many comedians – but it’s a fairly basic rule of comedy that they’ve got be funny and too much of the time what Out of My Head gives us is too raw – either because we don’t need to actually need to know it, or that it’s as yet under prepared.

Accompanied by his Strolling Players – ie Comedy Store impro chums Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster – the show is part familiar one liners (lacking in spontaneity), part sketches (often over long) and part improvisation (nowhere near slick enough).

Come back when it’s ready.