Comedy review: Alistair McGowan: 12th Impressions

Alistair McGowan
Alistair McGowan
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With more celebrities than ever, it’s tricky for impressionists to choose voices everyone’s familiar with.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)

Unquestionably reflecting his own interests, Alistair McGowan tends to rely on sports stars, ensuring that he can begin and close his show with a sleepy, surly Andy Murray. The Olympics’ topicality suggests a predictable Mo Farah gag too. But speaking as an English football fan, even I find his default recourse to the beautiful game south of the Border exhausting – wordplay about former Fulham centre-backs seems somewhat niche for someone who used to command eight million viewers on primetime television.

McGowan’s other favourite resource are his fellow comedians. And while he’s ungentlemanly portraying Sarah Millican and Rhod Gilbert, whom he kind-of-slanders with a mildly homophobic comment about Tom Daley, there’s no denying the brilliance of 90 per cent of his mimicries – either uncannily close or foregrounding quirks in their pronunciation. That he successfully inhabits women, including Jo Brand and Moira Stewart, is testimony to his versatility. As is sustaining an hour of essentially two-joke routines – the voice and the punchline. Varying it a tad, the Dad’s Army cast are pressed into service for a bit of nostalgia.

Until 28 August. Today 6pm.

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