David Mills is always well turned out: sharp-suited, finely tuned, sitting on his stool like some Easy Listening Singer from a bygone age. Indeed, there's something compulsively melodic about his laid-back delivery; his barely-pausing-for-breath monologue, with its near-poetic repetitions, deviations and call-backs to us, his "people". And, to keep the branding consistent with his poster, he enters holding a somewhat prickly plant: well suited for each other?
There's something compulsively melodic about his laid-back delivery
Well, certainly one audience member thought so; clearly feeling somewhat exposed on the front row, a late middle-aged man attempted to Paddington Bear-stare Mills out, failed to put him off, and then left his wife to enjoy the rest of the show. That Mills won this "battle of the wills" so decisively, without fuss, proves that he’s not just a guy who's “smart and funny and looking dynamite”; he works well with his audience, not least (on the day of this review) another front-row-audience-member who had the seeming advantage of being younger, sexier and German.
It's easy to list the subjects Mills talks about: the excessive number of promotional "weeks" in London; the countless Edinburgh Festivals, and his own history at the Fringe; the best things about Prison; the new perspective this London-based American now that he has dual (or should that be "duel"?) citizenship; the wonders of Stonehenge; Brexit; turning 50; and keeping young by having as much sex as possible; when being gay used to be cool; his Mother; the horrors of technology. But you have to listen, people, listen to Mills to get the full effect; there really is no alternative.
Yes, there’s a genuine risk of Mills actually pulling some kind of inspirational point from out of his own (some might call "tawdry") experiences. Thankfully, he chooses to soften the sharp edges of this homily with his wonderful low-key mixture of charm, irritation and polite disdain. And then he exits – far too soon, we laugh – from Underbelly's Wee Coo performance space, with plant in hand. Hopefully, both will be sufficiently watered; they deserve it.