Nothing quite stirs up a comedy gig on a wintry Thursday night like a celebrity showing up to try out some new material.
Star rating: * * * *
Last night, Frankie Boyle was on hand to test drive five minutes of fresh jokes about the Royals, Operation Yewtree and the laws of science ahead of, rather worryingly, a charity gig at Wembley.
With the phrase “follow that” almost tangible in the air, the interval simply couldn’t cope. Matt Green, though, is made of sterner stuff. He may be blessed with one of the freshest faces in stand-up, but his near-veteran status is confirmed with a 20-minute set full of poise, wit and expertly-placed callbacks. Dressed in a suit (‘like a teenager at a funeral’), he uses his actorly Radio 4 voice to fine effect with analyses of language, whether it’s the flexibility of Australian catchphrases or the passive hatred in machismo codes.
It’s not wholly unfair to see Green as a young Rowan Atkinson and his attendant physicality draws further parallels. His hypermobility (double-jointedness to you and I) yields amusing results and he uses his “18th century face” in a measured way to reinforce some of his subtler passages. But it’s the words and imagery that ultimately win the day, as he pulls out a delicious gag about churches and digs up some inventive material on hoary topics such as social media and friends with kids.
Many of the crowd will be telling their pals about the time they witnessed Frankie do five minutes, but the discerning observer will recall it as the night they saw that really funny Matt Green.