Johnnie Walker's Guest Night

‘Revealing, thought provoking and at times hilarious’ reads the flyer. Oh good. I like all of these things. Unfortunately, this show delivers none of the above. He opened with a badly-judged quip about not being able to use his free bus pass in Scotland - ‘You’re not independent already, are you?’ Bizarrely, he followed this up by asking for a show of hands – ‘Who wants Scotland to be fully independent?’. I’m not sure where he’s going with this and neither is he from the looks of it, and so on with the show.

The name of Robin’s show is The Importance of Being Interesting. It’s doubtful whether Walker or his guest fell into that category.

The format is that a different guest appears every evening for some pleasant tête-à-tête. For this performance it was Robin Ince: a comedian, actor, writer, library enthusiast and science geek. Subjects up for discussion included fatherhood (prompting an odd revelation of pride by Walker about the size of his baby’s manhood), science, religion, disc-jockeying, psychics, and just for good measure, the meaning of life. With antique-style leather armchairs, an old wooden lamp to one side and a large bookcase at the other, this is obviously meant to be a chummy chat around the fire. The action was overlooked by a screen showing slides of Robin Ince looking grumpy, Robin Ince reading a book and then a variety of his heroes, such as Charles Darwin, Richard Feynman and Brian Cox. The photo of Darwin prompted Walker’s funniest question, ‘Why does Charles Darwin blow your skirt up?’ but that is followed with some rather banal enquiries.

It is perhaps to Walker’s credit though that he actually said and did very little, allowing Ince to talk at length. What a pity then that the questioning should be so dull and the guest’s stories so flat. Ince struggled in particular with an audience member who had agreed to play a game whereby Ince analysed his personality from his record collection. Ince appeared not to understand the man’s strong accent and failed to guess his favourite newspaper and drink. While this could be funny, Ince’s attempts at flattery - apparently he was unable to guess because Edinburgh/Glaswegian people have such eclectic tastes - came across as a bit cringe worthy. Walker later had a sly dig at the audience who refused to respond to his invitation for post-interview questions. The name of Robin’s show is The Importance of Being Interesting. It’s doubtful whether Walker or his guest fell into that category.

Reviews by Ella Moran-Jones

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Performances

The Blurb

Join BBC Radio 2 legend Johnnie Walker, the original pirate DJ on Radio Caroline, discovering the real person behind the celebrity. Revealing interviews with daily celebrity guests from music, arts, sports and politics.

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