Carl Hutchinson: Learning the Ropes

What have you done in your life that you can say you’re proud of? This is what Carl Hutchinson asks at the top of his show Learning the Ropes. On entering, the question is put to us on a screen to the side of the stage, asking that we Tweet our responses. Unfortunately, mobile reception is a rare commodity here so Hutchinson has to ask us face-to-face, like in the good ole days.

A clever show from a comic clearly as comfortable onstage as in the ring.

Asking himself the question he posed to the audience, he says that this time last year he didn’t know how he would have answered it. He had done a bit of stand-up, but that was about it. After a few opening routines that touch on the board game Guess Who? (complete with some very clever, Demetri Martin-style graph work) and a few observations on hipsters, Hutchinson gets to what really makes him proud – his recent attempts to become a pro-wrestler.

It would be so easy to make this sort of topic farcical but Hutchinson’s performance is a genuine homage to sports entertainment and can be appreciated by expert and neophyte alike. Delivery-wise, he is by turns self-deprecating and confident, working really well with what in another comic’s hands could be a risible subject matter. The show doesn’t hit the heights of a film like The Wrestler in terms of changing your opinion about wrestling, but the montage pieces of Hutchinson in training will give you a renewed sense of appreciation of its physical demands.

The show isn’t laugh-a-minute stuff, but Hutchinson’s almost childlike love of the sport keeps everything focused. Added to this is his canny use of the screen to illustrate various points (who knew the second and third verses of wrestlers’ theme songs could be so disturbing?) This is a clever show from a comic clearly as comfortable onstage as in the ring. 

Reviews by Ryan O'Connor

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The Blurb

If the world ended today, how would you be remembered? In this show, Carl contemplates what exactly he’s brought to the table of life and why he’s even asking such questions at the age of 27. Between doing his job as a comedian and being a lifelong fan of wrestling, he hasn't really done that much. Carl explains his love of wrestling and how it’s remained the one constant from childhood to adulthood. Attempting to escape the strict parameters of stand-up and wrestling, how can he improve the CV of such a sheltered existence?