Geoff Norcott: Right Leaning but Well Meaning

There’s one point during Geoff Norcott’s latest show when it really flies, when you sense he really has most of the audience on his side — even though at least one or two of them must have seen him already use the material on his regular five minute slot on BBC Two’s The Mash Report. Not that the rest of the show is dull; quite the opposite. His low-key defensiveness genuinely gives edge to proceedings.

What Norcott hopes to achieve, apparently, is to fly into somebody else’s echo chamber and engage in some light-hearted conversation without it descending into a shouting match.

It helps that Norcott’s a naturally funny man; never one to miss the chance for a joke. Yet his default attitude is best described as ‘wary’—softly spoken, self-mocking, and constantly trying to ‘work out’ his audience and the extent to which it contains ‘Guardian sensibilities’ he can then metaphorically poke with a stick. Although some of his targets are obvious — Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, Vince Cable’s Liberal Democrats — as a self-described ‘socially-liberal conservative’ he’s not happy with the current leadership of the Conservative party either, especially after their dismal election campaign and alliance with the DUP.

Admittedly, the show is something of a mixed bag. Many of Norcott’s comedic routines are based on his family — especially his disabled, trade unionist father — or incidents which happened to him while he and his socialist wife were on holiday. Norcott also has some pretty good, solid material on the subject of recently becoming a father, and how it makes him feel — especially his confused reaction to whether or not he should equally share in child-rearing duties. But then there’ll be a swerve so sharp onto the subject of Donald Trump that’s even he knows the audience has noticed.

What Norcott hopes to achieve, apparently, is to fly into somebody else’s echo chamber and engage in some light-hearted conversation without it descending into a shouting match. Against that standard, his current show would seem to be a success; on the night of this review no one in the audience proved willing to take Norcott up on his regular offer of a ‘heckle amnesty’. I’m just not sure whether he was relieved or disappointed.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Traverse Theatre

Arctic Oil

★★★★
Multiple Venues

Scotties

★★★★
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

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Objectively funny regardless of your political leaning' **** (Fest). 'Absolute tonic' **** (Telegraph). As seen on Question Time (BBC One) and Edinburgh Nights (BBC Two). Written for Alternative Election (Channel 4), 8 Out Of 10 Cats (Channel 4), The Sarah Millican Television Programme (BBC Two) and Live at the Apollo (BBC One). Tour support for Katherine Ryan.