Reviewer: Jay Jay
One-third of sketch team Pappy’s, Matthew Crosby returns to Machynlleth with his solo show, inviting members of the audience to befriend the real-life comedian.
A former teacher, Crosby is peculiarly at home in the festival venue, which by day is a real-life schoolroom. The gig is sold out and the knowledgeable comedy audience is replete with goodwill. There’s the feeling that we are in for a fun hour, and we are not disappointed.
From the off, the audience welcomes Crosby to their bosom and he warmly reciprocates. This is apparent from the top of the show, when a tardy audience member receives an amicable roasting for her late arrival, and is subsequently chosen by Crosby for a game of “Danger Darts” (placing one’s hand splayed on a dartboard whilst your opponent takes aim – fortunately the darts turn out to be rubber-tipped). Another chap is invited to the front to have a drink with Crosby, who asks “red or white?” before offering a choice of red WKD or Smirnoff Ice (he later reprises the gag with a choice of béchamel or tomato lasagne sauce, and two varieties of cabbage). Other props play a part, with Crosby being interrupted throughout the show with calls on his banana phone.
As Crosby’s group of chums amasses, he nominates one man to head to the front to sing a Beatles song, and promptly exits the room, leaving the slightly bemused chap to take the reins. Of course, the audience doesn’t leave him hanging, and the whole room is soon joyously chorusing “I get by with a little help from my friends”.
This speaks to the ego-free, exuberant vibe of Crosby’s show. He doesn’t even have to be in the room for people to be having a fantastic time.
At the end of the show, there’s a genuine feeling of camaraderie, and the audience are practically ready to swap telephone numbers. This is not a show for someone who thinks they will just sit in their seat and hear jokes – it’s a jubilant celebration of silliness, warmth and friendship, condensed into 55 minutes.