REVIEW: Smug Roberts at the Erin Arts Centre, Port Erin REVIEWER: John Gregory
ON Thursday evening I went to the Erin Arts Centre to watch a show. By the end of the night I had been on stage dancing to S Club 7 and had a pair of tights on my head pretending to be a sperm. Welcome to the world of Smug Roberts.
By putting on the performance, Mancunian comedian Smug became the first ever stand up at the EAC and he won't be the last.
Smug is unusual for a comedian in that he doesn't tell many jokes. What he does do is tell a series of very funny stories about his life which many people could relate to and the affection for his children, partner and late father — all who play leading roles in those stories — is abundantly clear.
The anecdotes include his nine-year-old son's hilarious behaviour in the school nativity play, 'scallies' calling round for his teenage daughter and explaining the facts of life to his son (which is how, I — along with another hapless victim and Smug — ended up on stage racing along as a sperm), were priceless.
He also told the audience how he gets his own back on his kids for calling him 'Sumo'. This is by mouthing the words and dancing along to the S Club 7 song Reach in public. To illustrate the point, I, again with another couple of reluctant dancers including my wife, were dragged on to the stage to participate.
Smug had an uncanny ability to mimic the actions of his young son, to copy the movements and voices of the 'scallies' and does a superb Robert De Niro face!
When I wrote a preview of the show in What Where When in the Manx Independent — after first meeting him last month — I described Smug as 'the sort of person who can tell you what he has had for breakfast and make it sound funny'.
As if to illustrate the point, he opened the second half in a very serious mood by telling us he wanted to read a couple of pages from a book — before producing the children's classic Where's Spot?
He did indeed begin to read it and it was one of the most hilarious parts of the show, with members of the audience joining in on the animal noises. On paper it may not sound that funny, but I had an aching jaw through laughing so much at the end of the night.
Smug — who has family connections here — is a natural performer and the longer the show went on, the funnier it became. Afterwards, well after the performance had finished, he was just the same, explaining how he thought he was being heckled at a recent show in the UK only to discover it was a man being sick on a table!
Smug will be returning to the centre later in the year and there are plans for more stand up comedians at the venue.