Andrew Doyle is political. He makes no bones about it. Political.
The title of the show gives an idea of what his stance is; ie he’s prepared to take the piss out of anyone, left or right, leave or remain, straight or gay. Which is rather refreshing, really.
He’s with our dear Queen on the theme that ideas are there to be discussed reasonably, whatever they are, and not shouted down, or silenced in case they upset anyone of a sensitive disposition.
Is he offensive? Does he shock? No, not really. But he cleverly gives his audience the impression that they’ve been challenged, but that they themselves are unshockable; and this goes down very well.
Am I being patronising? I hope not. He doesn’t forget, in the middle of ranting at Telegraph readers equally with Guardian readers, that the prime duty of a comedian, however politically incisive, is to be funny. And he is. His delivery is fast fire; and for all the challenging stuff, actually very warm and personable, as well as thought-provoking.
His riff on life as a gay man is just the funniest, no-holds-barred rant on the subject, with no special pleading or demands for sympathy, that you’re likely to hear.
Unsurprisingly, from the co-writer of the ranting Jonathan Pie character, it’s possible that people get confused as to whether he’s being ironic, or whether he’s some sort of threat.
So he’s got plenty of material about idiots who call him a Nazi, when (a) he isn’t, and (b) they don’t seem to know what an actual Nazi is. And he tackles Brexit, both sides, unflinchingly, and makes that hilarious, too. Brave.
Altogether an enthralling evening of non-stop intelligent laughs for the politically thoughtful.
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Star Rating: ****
Andrew Doyle: Friendly Fire took place at the Rondo Theatre in Bath on Saturday 26th January 2019.