The All-Star Stand-Up Tour returned after a memorable 2016 show with a fresh bill apart from Kiwi Javed Christmas, who was moving from doing a headline slot last year to the more flexible role of presenter and in between slot raconteur. Jim Tavare had been due to play the tour, but sadly he was involved in in a near fatal car crash in his home city of Los Angeles on March 6th, from which he is fortunately recovering.
Christmas was far more at home as presenter than he had been last year with just his own spot. Teasing the audience, instant comedy, sharp retorts, and one liners are clearly his forte and he was the star of the show.
First up was, fresh from Phoenix Nights and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Justin Moorhouse. Rotund in frame, and easy going in nature, he was the perfect opener, pushing the smutometer along a few notches and easing the audience into the evenings comedy. Mike Gunn wound up the first half and for me was the star of the show. Lanky, laconic and very funny, he was confident at ease, trotting out a familiar, but no less amusing, final gag about wedding dresses. An absolute comic delight.
After the break came Canadian one-liner king and star of Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo Stewart Francis who unsurprisingly excelled in one liners, reducing the appreciative audience to fits of helpless laughter, with Christmas appearing again in able support.
The attraction of show like this is that inevitably some acts will appeal more than others, but with a variety bill, there is bound to be something for everyone.
It was pleasing to see Derby Theatre almost full for this two and a quarter hour show with an audience which was quite different from the regular theatre going crowd, reinforcing the venue as a comedy destination for the country’s top comic talent. This thirty date roadshow continues on tour nationwide.