Comedy review: Jonathan Pie, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Tom Walker as Jonathan Pie
Tom Walker as Jonathan Pie
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THOUGH best known for his three-minute YouTube rants, Tom Walker’s splenetic news reporter character Jonathan Pie is altogether funnier and more impressive in a live setting. The narrative arc of this show allows him to build up an incredible head steam, escalating from pompous self-regard and waspish asides, through thermonuclear paroxysms of rage to sustained and seething but clear-eyed invective.

Jonathan Pie - Back to the Studio, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall ****

For his second live outing, he’s angling to leave on-the-spot reporting behind and launch The Jonathan Pie Political Roadshow. Parking his upstart tanks on the lawns of Andrew Marr and Robert Peston, it’s a non-broadcast, studio showcase for the heads of BBC and ITV. Some of the alternative show titles considered offer an early indication of the kinks that still need ironing out. Dismissing Scottish politics as all but irrelevant to the Westminster to-and-fro, he doesn’t care about ruffling feathers, berating at length anyone in the audience with their phone out. A momentary lapse into cyber-stalking his estranged wife offers some insight into one possible source of his belligerence, but it chiefly seems to stem from his bottomless hatred of the Tory party, with Theresa May and Michael Gove in particular subjected to vicious personal attacks.

That’s not to underplay the increasingly deft choreography of Pie’s pique as he paces, snarls and sneers. And gradually, as he turns his guns on the Left, offence culture and the overreach of political correctness, the show evolves into something far richer and more theatrical. A recent dearth of sharp political satire perhaps makes this seem more piercing than it is. Still, Pie’s ultimate meltdown is as exquisitely performed as it is well written, damningly scathing of current political discourse and engagement.