Review: Andy Hamilton – Change Management

EXPERIENCED comedy writer Andy Hamilton has swapped his pen for a microphone in
his new stand up show, Change Management. Last night (October 26) he performed at The Lowry in Salford.

Throughout a thought provoking two hours, Hamilton discusses multiple changes that have occurred during his life time. In an elder statesman’s tone, he uses humorous anecdotes to compare modern life to his childhood experiences. Strolling from subject to subject, he bemoans what the world has become, telling stories to illustrate his points, inducing ripples of laughter from the audience along the way.

Hamilton’s varied comedy career has seen him write many well-known sit-coms, voice cartoons, act in a range of roles and appear on several panel shows, however, this variation did not translate to his audience. Hamilton himself demonstrates this by asking who listened to Radio 4 regularly, to which most of the room raised their hand. Obviously expecting theatres to be glinting with bifocals, his material is tailored to appeal to such an age group, making his anecdotes easily relatable for the majority. The Lowry’s modern theatre was hijacked with archaic points of view.

For the first half of the show Hamilton dips into his own nostalgia, pulling out a mix of stories. Harking back to his childhood, he fondly recalls the days of corporal punishment and the carefree attitude to health and safety. He also dives into subjects rarely touched by comedy in discussing the aftermath of the Second World War and the subsequent Cold War. The routine comes to a head when he recalls a hilariously brutal line from his father from a night during the Cold War: “We could be all gone by tomorrow, goodnight.”

After the interval Hamilton moves into a slick political routine, which, unlike the rest of the show, is structured more around jokes. This section evolves into his despair at modern life with quibbles, too polite to be called rants, about sport, smartphones and marketing. Neat one-liners to end anecdotes send waves of laughter around the theatre, however, there isn’t any punchlines that generate a roaring response. Whereas the first half of the show is a satisfying starter, the second half needs to kick on or build towards a significant finale. Instead the pace Hamilton dictates, along with the length of the show, means that energy dwindles. His show comes to an offbeat conclusion as he attempts to orchestrate the audience into a rendition of ‘Ging Gang Goolie’ to the tune of the German national anthem. However, due to the general lack of intensity in the show it’s understandable that, in last night’s case, the audience were rather reluctant to respond.

Having not been subjected to years of hard graft on the comedy circuit, Hamilton, in just his second solo show, lacks some of the finesse, timing and instinct that other stand ups possess. He refrains from speaking one on one with any audience member, a mistake as it would have benefitted his show by changing the pace and allowing Hamilton to demonstrate his improvisation skills. His performance fails to ignite energy in his audience, never really creating thunderous laughter. Despite this, Hamilton’s mellow delivery and undeniable charm allows for a pleasant evening of amusing stories that allow the audience to sit back and listen.

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