Review – Jason Byrne, Cirque du Byrne, Derngate, Northampton, September 29th 2011

Cirque du ByrneAfter a three week break from blogging (more of which later…) Mrs C and I took ourselves off to the Derngate in Northampton to see Jason Byrne’s Cirque du Byrne show. When I booked this, I knew nothing at all of Mr Byrne. I just trusted some reviews I’d seen and crossed my fingers. And I’m glad we did, because it was one of the funniest nights of stand-up we’ve ever seen.

I couldn’t quite tell whether the evening was 90% ad-lib reaction to the audience (which is what it certainly seemed to be) or a carefully crafted scripted piece giving the impression that he was saying the first thing that came into his head. Either way, it works.

Within about two minutes of being on stage, he was getting heckled by a loudmouth in the upper boxes. It was funny at first, and gave Jason the chance to react and bounce off it; but after about half an hour of it, it became very wearing. Mrs C thought that maybe the first half before the interval contained perhaps a quarter of the material that Jason Byrne had intended to deliver. Who knows. Still, once we were into the second half, the loudmouth had magically disappeared. Bliss.

Jason ByrneWhich left Mr Byrne able to get on with his material and frankly it’s brilliant. He does use the “F” word a lot, which I don’t normally care for too much, but he does it with such wicked charm that it adds to the humour. A routine that includes sharing knickers, a steps exercise workout, Australians, sex with the Holy Spirit, and a vast amount of inspired and inventive interaction with members of the audience can’t be all bad. Liam the rugby player in the front row proved himself to be a terrific sport. And as for the finale… “Popcorn” by Hot Butter will never quite sound the same. I will say no more – except lock up your sons.

He’s touring till early December so do yourself a favour and book.

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