|Image Source: CarlHutchinson.net|
Date: May 25 2017
Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, England
I'd never heard of Carl Hutchinson until the day before the performance. I did no research and I didn't know what to expect. It relieves me to say that I was impressed with what I met with.
In the interest of being honest from the outset, I love a Geordie accent; at once foreign and yet deeply familiar. Does this make me biased? Maybe. But nonetheless, the main act was excellent.
Far removed from the reliably pious London-centric comedians who dominate comedy, this was as far from la-di-da as you could hope. Real Northern humour, unpretentious and uninhibited. There was no preaching and no attempts to indoctrinate, merely to entertain. No more, no less. The subject matter felt genuine and, as a Scouser, extremely close to home.
From the outset, Hutchinson set the tone for what was to come. There was a casual admission to p--sing in swimming pools, which we all do (just like we all p--s in the shower). It made me think "I like him, he reminds me of myself". And when he confessed to making prank calls to Childline, I suddenly felt nostalgic and was transported back to my similarly mischievous youth. This was a comedian who spoke my language. Incidentally, he revealed at one point that he was only a year older than me.
The crowds were far from swollen, but Hutchinson did not let it deter him, and he didn't begrudge the audience for it. They could easily have played the role of morbid orchestra, but he got them going and involved them in the show. Several protracted back-and-forwards with members of the audience showed that the man loved his fans and appreciated their support. It was hard not to like him.
The content was light on politics and better for being so. The title of the show (The Fixer) proved somewhat misleading. Yes, there was a segment on 'fixing' the ills of modern society, but this felt like something of a distraction and deviation from what felt like otherwise effortlessly-delivered soliloquies about being young, being Northern and being extremely drunk.
The set was far from rigidly scripted and constructed, and it amounted to a rich tapestry of well-structured anecdotes covering topics as rudimentary as sick days and takeaways. High ideas slain in favour of laughs which clearly indicated the audience's admiration. A laboured reference to eating a kebab was a perfect contrast with Anth Young, the warm-up act, who spoke warmly and extensively about his wife's kebab. Speaking of Anth Young's introductory ten minute set, he set the tone for what was to come: real life stories told with wit, though not to the same high standard as the main act with his swift delivery and infectious stage presence. With Hutchinson, I felt like I was listening to a slightly inebriated friend rambling on for over an hour, only on this occasion, I wanted to hear more.
Anth Young was Blackpool/Benidorm. Hutchinson on the other hand? I'm not sure. But he was definitely a cut above in both style and performance. Same content and subject matter, yet somehow separate when it comes to levels of excellence.
I got the impression that Hutchinson has been living in the shadow of colleague and contemporary Chris Ramsey. That's a shame. I hope that, one day, he gets the opportunity to step out of the shadows and find success in his own right. I certainly wouldn't turn down the opportunity to watch him again.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 - Excellent