Andy Parsons brought his satirical stand-up comedy show ‘I’ve Got A Shed’ to Oxford Playhouse for one night only, and what a night! The Playhouse was pretty much sold out and the energy of the crowd was great to experience. The scene was set by Parsons doing his own pre-show announcements, before bounding back on stage to enthrall the audience with his lashings of political and social tongue-fu for the evening.
Initially disappointed by the lack of a set or props of any kind – at the very least I expected a shed – I was quickly bowled over by Parsons’ quick-witted, amiable angry-man routine. Covering a range of topical issues such as politics (Boris Johnson for President, anyone?), childhood dreams, adult procrastination (this is where the shed came in), poorly-written sex books (yep, Fifty Shades of Grey), Parsons managed to be one of us instead of being distant or offensive, a fair achievement in our society of celebrity, ego and political incorrectness.
Portraying himself as a disgruntled voter and a staunch anti-Tory, Parsons captivated us with his angry anti-Big Society rantings about the current state of our political leaders and the implications for the rest of us, while keeping the laughs coming regularly – it was like the best type of pub banter with the funniest person you know, without having to buy a round.
Recognisable from popular satire shows such as Mock The Week, and identifying himself as the missing Mitchell brother from Eastenders, Parsons has an everyman quality that makes you think he could be your ideal neighbourhood spokesman, telling it how it really is, with a generous sprinkling of risqué humour and not-too-inappropriate innuendos. Stories of childhood failures and underachievement added more human elements to the routine, and I am still chuckling at his favourite pointless line from Fifty Shades of Grey – ‘He took off his socks, individually'...
A few toilet jokes made me cringe but for the most part I laughed out loud for much of the show, and when Parsons did introduce some relevant props and a swansong at the end of the routine, they worked really well. Despite generally not liking stand-up comedy – I mean, who likes being told when to laugh? – and still wondering why it was called ‘I’ve Got A Shed’, I really enjoyed the show and will actively seek out watching Andy Parsons on TV and in future live shows.
And for his grand finale, well, you had to be there… and I recommend that next time, you are.