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Tim Minchin wows fans at Greenwich Comedy Festival
AN ENORMOUS tent, whooping ladies, rock star wristbands and a slightly concerning young female fan who knows all the words to the songs — a Tim Minchin gig definitely isn’t your normal stand-up show.
The long-haired Australian and his baby grand piano opened this year’s Greenwich Comedy Festival in phenomenal fashion, leaving a sold-out venue demanding two encores.
Fresh from a Proms appearance and his own mammoth arena tour, Minchin is on top form at the moment and ripped through a set of darkly funny songs with panache.
“This isn’t my normal kind of audience. I’m not sure how far I can push you,” he said.
But he needn’t have worried.
From a song about child murder to an expletive-filled tune about the Pope, the black humour kept coming.
His charm and energy kept the night going, coupled with an extraordinary musical ability which punctuated his funny verses with bouts of keyboard showmanship which stop just short of being self-indulgent.
A routine in which he plays an apparently old song called Cont, which he discovers in a drawer and then subverts the meaning of everything he just sang, is draw-droppingly clever.
You can’t imagine another comedian doing it.
The same could be said about his musical plea not to mock the ginger-haired.
Earlier on, the musical bug seemed to be catching, with first-on-the-bill Dan Antopolski, admitting to feeling a little lost in front of such a large crowd, playing a very funny song about a fish outgrowing its bowl.
The show’s start had been delayed, which might explain why Tim Key’s marvellous set of ridiculous poetry written on playing cards seemed a little too short.
What he performed was outstanding, including one of the funniest and most inoffensive jokes about Hitler you’re ever likely to hear.
By comparison Mock the Week star Holly Walsh tried out some rather pedestrian material about south London.
The Peckham resident’s best moment was claiming, seeing a white tent in the street, she couldn’t be sure if it was a murder scene or a farmer’s market.
But nothing could stop the night being Minchin’s, who did his bit to make sure Greenwich’s festival started this year on song.
The Greenwich Comedy Festival runs at the Old Royal Naval College until Sunday. To book, visit greenwichcomedyfestival.co.uk