Review: Dara O’Briain: Crowd Tickler at the Ipswich Regent

Dara O'Briain. Photo: Angst Productions / Guy Levy

Dara O'Briain. Photo: Angst Productions / Guy Levy - Credit: BBC/Angst Productions

Comedians almost always pack out the theatres the visit, especially when they are TV regulars and tickets to see them are snapped up months in advance.

Dara O’Briain is one of them and he is clearly popular in Ipswich – it’s the second time he has brought his show Crowd Tickler to the Regent Theatre this year.

With a tangible sense of anticipation on the auditorium before the show the hush descended immediately the lights started to dim in readiness for the Mock the Week host’s entrance.

The noise was not absent for long though with the energetic O’Briain hitting is stride with the gags as soon as the applause had ended.

You know part of what you will get from O’Briain – intelligent observational humour, engaging stories and a little bit of something which makes you leave the theatre a little bit more knowledgeable (I now know why Phineas Gage is significant to brain research) – but the joy of his shows is you will experience a range of topics so broad you are unlikely to bored by the same, familiar routines.


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One section common to his shows though is audience engagement, right at the start with some semi-willing volunteers in the front rows.

Their response to his questions brought laughs as large as those for the comedian himself and elicited some telling perspectives on local feelings (Felixstowe seemed to be more popular than Somersham, while Saxmundham was ‘so-so’).

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The topics on Tuesday ranged from the sudden emergence of pulled pork as a popular dish since O’Briain started the Crowd Tickler tour (was there a surplus of pigs in 2014 and no better idea what to do with them?) to how to create the next popular foreign-language box-set-ready must-see crime-thriller-comedy (it’s all about an undercover deaf dentist, and the murder weapon is a bird feeder).

He also regaled us with why the line “Many Bothans died to give us this information” from Star Wars film Return of the Jedi has forever ruined sincerity for him – and consequently why major daytime TV is not for him.

The pace was not unrelenting (we needed a chance to get our breath back) and the light and shade of the routine helped make the big punchlines all the funnier.

O’Briain was tickling the crowd from start to finish and would not relent, right until the end.

If you were there the, like me, I expect you had a thoroughly enjoyable, hearty evening.

Edmund Crosthwaite

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