If you can’t predict what is in store from the title then here’s a clue: Darren Walsh likes saying things that sounds like other things, and what’s more, they’re usually quite funny. Punderbolt is a pic’n’mix selection of one-liners, joke book gags and short comedy skits, guaranteed to brings forth giggles and groans from the word ‘go’.
While it is undoubtedly the punderful title that draws in the audience, certain departures from that particular niche make up some of the key highlights.
With a big sign requesting suggestions for pun topics as the audience enter, Walsh certainly does not hang around establishing exactly how this evening is going to run. These suggestions are returned to over the course of the show and demonstrate his talent for improvising, particularly with some of the more obscure requests.
The performance is mostly well structured, with the use of well-timed sound effects and pre-recorded footage to provide a variety of small sketches throughout the show. I found that some of the longer-running jokes, having been set up and returned to at several points over the evening, felt a little unsatisfying when the punchline was finally reached. This may be because Walsh’s strength lies in the immediate, delivering the silliest of lines as straight-faced as if he were telling a story to a friend. Each setup and punchline comes in the same breath, barely giving the audience a chance to recover from one before moving on to the next.
While it is undoubtedly the punderful title that draws in the audience, certain departures from that particular niche – I hope you know the Jurassic Park theme tune – make up some of the key highlights. The relentless wordplay is unavoidable, and it is Walsh’s embracing and relishing of every line that makes this so entertaining.
Walsh is undoubtedly at his best when he is embracing the weird and the wonderful; if you enjoy good puns, bad puns or any sort of lexical humour then this is the show for you.