David Mills: Shame!

The sharp-suited David Mills is already seated on stage when his audience comes in, chatting with us, riffing along to a Barry Manilow hit; while he later insists that the role in life he wants to play is that of a 1950s US TV sitcom husband, there’s also a sense of him being one of those cool easy-listening singers who survived into the early 1970s. Mills doesn’t sing, but his barely-pausing-for-breath monologue – he doesn’t share the stage with anyone, people – is undoubtedly melodic, entrancing us as much with its deliberate aural repetitions, sweeps and flows as the dark wit and intelligence in what he says.

David Mills doesn't appear to be the type of man to do shame; he remains a sharp player in the comedy arena, and well worth your time.

As an American in London who’s now – to his clear horror – still trying to make people laugh in a dark room called the “Wee Coo” in Edinburgh – he is undoubtedly an outsider of sorts, a life role he often uses to comedic advantage, not least when displaying his own apparent lack of empathy with either his Muslim neighbour or the partner.

He doesn’t like the word "boyfriend," though; he insists he's "not one of the good gays" and, aged – no, surely not! – 48, is old enough to remember when "gay used to be rock 'n' roll". Being the respectable homosexual with the excitable hand clapping just isn't him – although there’s a real irony in that he spends a reasonable proportion of the show telling us about the “learning experience” of being in Meryl Streep's latest film, playing – you guessed it – the “gay best friend” in "Florence Foster Jenkins", alongside Hugh Grant and Rebecca Ferguson. This is when he is at last able to move among the special people, the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful – his people, he believes, even if they don't immediately recognise the fact.

With David Mills there's always an enticing whiff of irritation and disdain, that's ready to erupt should someone have the audacity to slip out for a toilet break halfway through the show – though it's nothing compared to the reaction when they return to their seat afterwards. Whether or not it's an affectation, his sharp-tongued delivery confirms just how at ease he is on stage, ready to deal with whatever his audience provides. Though, to be honest, he clearly believes that attack is the best form of defence, even offering some less responsive people in the front row the opportunity to leave the show without criticism. (He appears mildly disappointed that they stay.)

Despite the show's title, David Mills doesn't appear to be the type of man to do shame; he remains a sharp player in the comedy arena, and well worth your time.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sharp and hilarious pop culture rants! ‘Is Mills' show good enough for a Foster's? Yes! Essential viewing! Mills combines laid-back storytelling with acerbic wit. This is sharp, intelligent stuff and some of the best political comedy I have heard this year' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com, 2015). Cocktail lounge-lizard 'bristling with sharp-tongued satire' **** (Fest, 2015). 'Mills deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Dave Allen. A legend in the making' **** (FringeReview.co.uk). As seen on Sam Delaney's News Thing (RT) and as Augustus Corbin in Florence Foster Jenkins (Dir, Stephen Frears).