Andy Zaltzman: The Atkinson, Southport
Alan Parry was one of a dwindling crowd to head to Southport to see Zaltzman zing on Trump, ISIS, May and ,of course, Cricket.
You must have heard the old saying, that some faces are made for radio. Well, it may be the case that Andy Zaltzman’s material is best suited to that platform too. There is no doubting his sharp wit, but in much the same way that music is said to sound better on vinyl, it could be argued that he is not at peak performance levels when on stage. On Saturday night, he never looked comfortable, and it told.
This may be something that other local comedy fans already knew given that the room was half empty, at best. A least one couple left during the interval and this was unfortunate for the comic, as he attempted to reignite a conversation with the deserters in the second half, and they simply weren’t there to respond. It felt awkward watching on, I can’t begin to imagine how it must feel to be in that position on stage.
Perhaps I am being unkind. After all, the show took place only a few short hours, and a couple of hundred yards away from a brutal crime which shook the town. It may be that some fans decided not to venture out, and those that did may not have been in the highest of spirits.
But, the truth is that Southport is simply not Zaltzman country (nor is it Lancashire, Andy). Reference was made to the age of the population in Lytham St Annes, and his lack of appeal in terms of ticket sales among that demographic. And given that Zaltzman is a proud, left leaning comedian, and the Southport electorate voted in a Conservative at the last general election, he was seemingly preaching to the wrong crowd. A packed out, smaller venue in a Labour stronghold would likely have made for a very different evening, I’m sure.
However, I did find myself agreeing with much of what he said, Ebola and Mao’s Little Red Book do sound a lot more fun than they are; and the victims of his acerbic satire, namely Trump, May, Gove and ISIS are all entirely deserving of their harsh tongue lashing.
As was to be expected, there was a lot of sport related material to accompany the politics and the two are inextricably linked. He is bang on with regards to VAR in football. It won’t solve the true problem of the the unequal distribution of wealth within the game. He went on to consider how our woeful national cricketing performances are somehow tied to economic growth, and he had the facts to back it up. The bigger the national debt, the better our cricket results get. Every cloud, eh?
The show concluded with him presenting a cauliflower on a tripod as a model of Trump’s brain which he claimed to have linked to his laptop, in order for us to hear Trump’s responses to a series of questions. He had painstakingly clipped together soundbites and quotes, and created a whole bunch of brilliant responses and exclamations, including the POTUS’s desire to insert his cock into Canada. The highlight of the show was probably Trump’s responses to Zaltzman’s quickfire cricket quiz, but even this segment, like his metaphors in general lasted a tad too long.