As the Phantom of the Opera music played a cloaked figure appeared, sang along for a few bars before ripping off the cloak to reveal he had a Henry Hoover for a head. Then he took it off and we were offered Dan Mitchell, a slightly madcap, softly spoken Welshman.
Comparable to a gentler version of Rhod Gilbert, Mitchell makes use of his Welsh heritage, not falling into any stereotypical sheep jokes but offering up some genuinely hilarious observational comedy about growing up somewhere where a stick was the height of toy-fashion. As he points out, it is hard doing observational comedy about a place where there is not that much to observe. However, he doesn’t limit himself purely to Wales for inspiration; there are stories about illness, TV, food, a few of which take a while to come to a point but are always funny.
The performance might actually have been better in some ways had he kept the Henry Hoover on, as while the humour is good and rarely misses its stride, there is nothing remarkable to it. There is a promisingly epic introduction which quickly falls into something more familiar and comfortable. While it is nice to watch a stand up who does not spend his whole time grilling or shouting at his audience, there is nothing particularly stand-out about the show.
That being said, brief moments of comedy gold are available. His analysis of the Welsh dialects is excellent and some of these nuggets of information certainly fed through into the after-show bar talk. Also great are Mitchell’s brief sojourns into audience interaction. All I will say is, think of the strangest animal you can before you go and be ready. His impression of a seagull is uncanny, as is his Geordie accent. In fact, so well did Dan Mitchell swap backwards and forwards between different British accents, I worry we may have spent an enjoyable hour listening to a not-actually-Welshman make jokes about Wales, which would mean the joke’s on us.