Preview: Rob Newman at Epstein Theatre

By Alan Parry
Wed 26 September, 2018

Comedy legend Rob Newman comes to Liverpool in November, so Alan Parry looks back on his storied career.

Liverpool welcomes Rob Newman, the comedy legend and former partner to David Baddiel to the Epstein Theatre on Thursday 22nd November, as he tours his most recent show, Total Eclipse of Descartes. The set promises to explore three thousand years of human contemplation as Newman attempts to establish a philosophical position appropriate for our times. Who better to entrust with unearthing the savviest method for combatting the crazy world in which we live?

Newman’s star may have faded some since the heady heights of those now legendary sell out arena shows, but this is by no means a slur on his more recent work. Perhaps he no longer captures the zeitgeist in the way he once did, but his brilliance remains.

The truth be told, Newman consciously stepped out of the limelight, as opposed to either burning out or fading away. As part of The Mary Whitehouse Experience Newman had, alongside Baddiel, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, laid the groundwork for stadium comedy as we know it today before he looked to pursue other endeavours.

And who could blame him? He tried his hand at comedy and succeeded, and in doing so he set the bar unbelievably high. Where was there to go but down?

Newman, an alumnus of Selwyn College, Cambridge, is nothing if not an astute, intelligent man. Further, he has other passions beyond live comedy which are equally deserving of his time and attention. See here his political activism and acclaimed novel writing. These are probably the most well known of his other enterprises.

It is possible that his successes as an author of thought provoking novels, coupled with everything he still has in the bank in terms of his reputation as a live comic, which have provided him with the opportunity to explore the sort of issues that he is now musing over on the stage. Certainly, there is a correlation that can be drawn between the decreased size of the stages he is performing on now, compared to the gargantuan themes he is working with presently.

I want to finish by saying that there are few comedians of Newman’s stature who continue to have something new, relevant, and provocative to say, while remaining as funny as they always were. With this being the case, you really shouldn’t be passing up the opportunity to go listen to the man speak, he’s sure to tickle you in all the right places, and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two to boot.

Rob Newman plays Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre on Thursday 22nd November. Tickets are available now.