Cabaret Bar, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
The Cabaret Bar is sold out, and that’s the way (a-ha, a-ha) Joe likes it. He’s on good form this evening, positively oozing with wit and mischief; he makes stand-up look easy and the audience is on his side.
I’ve seen him performing a short set quite recently at a charity event, so I’ve already heard some of this material, but that doesn’t matter. It’s interesting to see how the routines develop and how they fit in to a broader context. There’s a theme of sorts (living in Birmingham), but it’s very loose; it’s more ‘what Joe’s been doing recently’ than anything else. And, honestly, what he’s actually been doing is pretty mundane: going on a stag night, having breakfast at a coffee shop, and messing around on social media. But, of course, it’s all in the telling, and the telling here is very good. Joe Lycett is seriously talented, I think; he engages effortlessly with the audience, and looks like he is having fun.
OK, so it’s a gentle form of comedy. There’s a moment – when he starts to talk about Fox News’s erroneous description of Birmingham as “100% Muslim” – when I think we might be heading towards something more challenging; he begins to question why Fox News presume – if this were true – it would be negative, and goes on to explore the idea of how the language we employ colours our views. But he doesn’t take this very far, soon wandering back into more comfortable territory, such as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’s social media posts. Personally, I’d like to see more of the demanding stuff, but I’m sure Lycett knows his audience, and tonight’s punters seem more than happy with their lot.
Worth seeing, then – but you’ll need to be quick. The tickets for this one are selling fast.