Brighton Festival - An Evening with Andy Hamilton - Review

Andy Hamilton By Summer Dean
Andy Hamilton By Summer Dean

Andy Hamilton has been a face on Britain’s comedy circuit since the mid-70s, where he joined the BBC following a number of appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Drop the Dead Donkey and Outnumbered rank highly in his televisual oeuvre, while radio heads (specifically those who subscribe to the more intellectually rich offerings of BBC Radio 4) will no doubt have heard Hamilton’s apathetic incarnation of Satan in the fiendishly cynical Old Harry’s Game (which Hamilton also wrote and directed during it’s run between 1995 and 2012).

Hamilton is no stranger to the comedy circuit either, as those early years before he was picked up by the BBC attest to. But while previous shows, such as his sell-out “Change Management” tour, have adhered closer to convention, “An Evening With Andy Hamilton”, which came to the Theatre Royal on May as part of the Brighton Festival, offers audiences an opportunity to engage in a more frank and open dialogue with this comedy stalwart.

“An Evening with Andy Hamilton” is less a comedy show, and more a candid discuss on the career of a man who has been navigating the UK comedy for more than 40 years. At the outset he informed the audience that they have permission to ask him any question, providing it isn’t an algebra problem or ‘what’s your favourite joke’.

This is very much a show for the fans, with long discursive tangents seeing Hamilton discuss his radio and TV career (including his bemusing role as an elephant dentist in beloved toddler favourite Peppa Pig). Those less familiar with certain elements of his showbiz past may occasionally find themselves out of the loop, but as a host Hamilton is careful to ensure the conversation remains as open and fluid as possible.

Memories of times spent and laughs had with Jeremy Hardy, who passed away earlier this year, added an element of pathos to proceedings on the Brighton stage, but for the most part the tone remained jovial and upbeat, with Hamilton mixing throwaway gags with fond stories that paint a picture of an comedy career well spent; a gentle and generous evening.

By James Mcallister