Master of the pause

Andy ParsonsCitizens!Corn Exchange, IpswichIt's not the jokes - it's the way you tell 'em. That old saw might hold true, but not for Andy Parsons.

Dominic Castle

Andy Parsons

Citizens!

Corn Exchange, Ipswich

It's not the jokes - it's the way you tell 'em. That old saw might hold true, but not for Andy Parsons.

The comic's odd, strident, estuarine delivery is studded with random pauses; in theory that should be annoying but it isn't and in fact does mean that even in a barn like the Corn Exchange you can at least hear everything that's said.

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He was in good shape last night, coming towards the end of a longish British tour. He was given some nice soft targets to work with in the front row, including Bridget the teacher and the BT broadband network designer, and he made hay.

The loose theme to the evening appeared to be the question of whether the credit-crunched middle-Englanders might rise up in revolt - setting fire to tea-lights and tutting, that sort of thing. The conclusion was that we probably wouldn't.

Trinny and Susannah were on the wrong end of a verbal makeover, which went down well, as did the notion of level crossing gates as a method of natural selection.

One mark of a good performer is how he or she deals with interruptions, like hecklers or latecomers.

Parsons extracted full value from the unfortunates who came in ten minutes late but was then caught flat-footed when someone else became unwell, berating the unlucky man before someone in the audience, who had let Parsons bang on uninterrupted, actually let him know what was really going on.

He recovered from his obvious embarrassment (as did the poorly guest, whose Christmas present - the ticket - was somewhat spoiled) but he was certainly a little rattled for a while.

He had some interesting advice to dispense as well; though if I ever see someone being bitten by a dog I won't be taking up his suggested method of making the animal's jaws relax.

Dom Castle

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