“I’ve never been here before,” says Jason Manford, striding onto stage and scanning the surroundings of the Lowther. “I’d better get a move on - I’ve got to be off by nine because there’s a badminton match on”.
It sets the tone perfectly for the next, hugely enjoyable two hours.
Manford is an accomplished comedian, at his peak, and is especially effective in an intimate setting like the Lowther (this gig a warm-up for a forthcoming nationwide tour in larger theatres).
The 32-year-old, a stand-up comedian for the last decade and more, is particularly brilliant early on when he rattles off lots of gags about the local area and interacts effortlessly with his audience.
One man, sat in the front row and wearing shorts and sunglasses clipped onto his shirt collar, gets it in the neck, though - and this is what makes Manford so likeable and so good - never in a nasty, aggressive way.
Despite being a millionaire (I’m guessing), Manford manages to be the sort of happy-go-lucky bloke you’d want living next door.
“This is my first time in Lytham - it’s bloody nice isn’t it,” he says.
“You probably don’t have Pound Shops, they’re probably One Pound Fifty shops”. Manford clearly took a liking to the place, for as soon as this show was over he hotfooted it to Lytham Cricket Club and did an impromptu set at Phil Walker’s comedy club (Woofers, held on the first Thursday of each month).
Manford tells stories about the mundane everyday things, and talks particularly about his three young kids.
About Blackpool he remarks: “Remember the riots last year? I’m not sure if you had them in Blackpool. It was probably hard to tell - it could have just been a Friday”.
There is little doubt the eight-month tour he’s about to embark on will be a big success. He had the Lytham crowd eating out of his hand by the time this two-hour set was done. Great stuff - and all for the bargain price of £12.50.
What more could you want?