Gary Colman: Tickling Mice

Along with Part Troll and I Would Happily Punch All Every One Of You In The Face, Gary Colman’s Tickling Mice is not only one of my favourite show titles, but also one of the most appropriate: charming, light-hearted and odd, it describes Colman’s style of humour to a tee.

Colman regularly chats to audience members throughout, massaging punchlines with on-the-fly observations and improv.

Confronting issues ranging from his struggles as a bald man to his son’s indeterminate sexuality, Colman’s talent for comic timing and left-field observations turns what could be a very trite act into a nicely entertaining piece of comedy, using mid-sentence quips and quick flashes of wit to command brilliant verbal scene changes. This is very much 'stream of consciousness' comedy – it makes you wonder what a vibrant and entertaining place the inside of Colman’s head must be. In any case, it makes for some good comedy.

Unfortunately, the fractured and fast nature of his standup also means that some sets seemed to get lost in the whirl. On this night he often tripped over his words and got stuck in what sounded like a recursion loop, before finally snapping out of it and finding the next word. Often, it feels like Colman’s wit is moving faster than his mouth can keep up with. And while his rough, Northern acid-tongue makes for some brilliantly cynical observational humour, a few quips fall flat for the sake of their subject matter. There are moments when Colman’s good-natured jokes border on simply riffing off stereotypes, which makes for slightly uncomfortable watching. But these moments are luckily few, brief, and far between – all spaced out by his brilliantly energetic jumps between jokes.

And there’s no denying that the energy is infectious: this isn't a 'sit in silence and watch' kind of show. Colman regularly chats to audience members throughout, massaging punchlines with on-the-fly observations and improv – the latter being some of the more impressively funny parts of his act. Even when confronted with a faulty speaker, he managed to twist it into some quite amusing comedy sparring with the front row.

At the end of the day, Tickling Mice is a great way to pass the afternoon. It’s free, it’s funny and there’s easy access to booze: what’s not to love?

Reviews by J W Close

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Gary Colman: Tickling Mice

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Did you know, rats and humans are the only animals that laugh when tickled? And the similarities don't stop there. Geordie funnyman Gary Colman – ‘Fearlessly funny ... the best deadpan act since Jack Dee so it’s unsurprising that Frank Skinner’s a fan’ (GQ) – presents another beautiful, heart-warming comedy show about the crushing banality of family life.