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Rob Brydon, Royal Concert Hall

March 4 2009

THE signs weren't good for Rob Brydon's first tour as himself – reviews have been lukewarm. This week The Guardian gave the Marion and Geoff/Gavin and Stacey/Comic Relief star a panning. To paraphrase – 'he's likeable but not really funny being himself.'
Odd then that his opening gambit is that he's attracting the 'middle class, Guardian reading type of crowd.'
Despite the obvious warmth for the comedy actor from a near sell-out Royal Concert Hall, there was no spontaneous applause in response to any particular routine and no standing ovation at the close.
The problem for Brydon appears to be how to be himself. How to pitch his personality. Half the time he's an outdated mimic: Ronnie Corbett, Bruce Forsyth, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis – as good as they are they belong in the past. Until, that is, he does Wogan and Ken Bruce struggling with the revived Radio 2 policy for playing new bands. A cute observation.
At other times he's dragging audience members through the mill. John the taxman, in particular, with as much contempt as the most sardonic stand-up. It may be a little cruel but it's the highlight of his 90- minute set.
As with most comics, convincing ad libs with the audience win us over.
The prepared material about his own life – "I'm famous", "I dumped my wife for a younger model", "Giving birth versus golf" – never really hit home.
A comedy canter, if you will.
Gavin and Stacey fans were in attendance, evident from the huge roar when he mentioned the hit BBC TV series at the encore. But where was the Mathew Horne/Nottingham acknowledgement? He's one of us, is Gavin.

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