Paul Zerdin - Sponge Fest Revisited

Paul Zerdin is clearly an accomplished ventriloquist. He goes further than the standard trick of making his puppets ‘talk’ without moving his mouth, showing off his voice-throwing tricks by swapping voices with the dummy, speaking out-of-sync, and ‘reading’ the thoughts of the audience. So far, so impressive, and his ability to do such a range of voices – singing, echoing, whispering etc – is admirable. But the act is let down by his cheesy and juvenile patter, which never gets much more sophisticated than a puppet shouting 'ugly!' at an audience member, or calling the puppeteer a 'poofter'.There might be something amusing about hearing a puppet swear, but it gets tired very quickly, and you begin to wish that Zerdin had used his talent to put together some more original and entertaining material, rather than relying on cheap and obvious jokes. At one point in the act, Zerdin summons an audience member on stage to act as a human dummy, fitting a rather creepy false mouth onto him. While the effect is a bit disturbing, this inventive set-up could have had some scope for interesting material, but Zerdin settles for making his volunteer announce 'I’m gay!' to the audience instead of actually coming up with anything witty. Zerdin has skill and charisma, so it’s a shame his impressive vocal trickery is wasted on such lazy material.

The Blurb

Arguably Britain's most talented and leading ventriloquist and comedian, as seen on 'Royal Variety Performance' and recently on ITV's 'Comedy Rocks'. 'Technically immaculate' (Guardian); 'The best ventriloquist Britain has discovered for many years' (Times).