REVIEW: Ed Gamble's barrel of chuckle fun at Lighthouse, Poole

REVIEW:  Ed Gamble's barrel of chuckle fun at Lighthouse, Poole
REVIEW: Ed Gamble's barrel of chuckle fun at Lighthouse, Poole

All-rounder Gamble is most noted for (take your pick) regular appearances on Mock the Week, his Off Menu food podcast with James Acaster, his stand-up comedy, his weekly Radio X show, his type 1 diabetes, his winning of Taskmaster, his much-postponed wedding to TV producer Charlie Jamison or, latterly, his judging role on TV’s Great British Menu.

Indeed, his appearance at Lighthouse on his latest ‘Electric’ tour coincided precisely with the screening of the food programme’s banquet final from Alexandra Palace which, unexpectedly, did not provide him a rich feast of material.

Gamble, 36, doesn’t have the USP of, say, Milton Jones (mad, mad hair), Ross Noble (madder, madder hair), Bill Bailey (mad hair, musical genius) or Henning Wehn (little hair, German), but he does speak very loudly – I could still hear him in Row S when he stopped using the microphone – so at least there is that.

In his own pre-show words we were in for a barrel of chuckle fun, which started later than planned due to congestion at the bar where one couldn’t move for fancy dressed Rocky Horror Show aficionados.

He was wearing some sort of fancy dress himself – a massive, checked shirt over cargo trousers that made him look like a tent on sturdy legs (the perils of food show judging!) – but did have the nous to tweet an apology for his tardiness due to the theatre audience ‘taking too long to find change in their suspenders’.

As with all comics these days, Gamble starts with coronavirus references – doing a show to a masked audience was like being kidnapped by a large terrorist group or the time when an audience member at a drive-in show tried to leave early.

Although slightly freaked that the lighting meant he could see the audience, he soon got to grips with the Poole crowd – describing us as laugh and then sit back and say, ‘next one now’ – and also described the town he saw earlier in the day after visiting the harbour as a ‘reverse Narnia’.

There was plenty of interaction, with one side of the crowd dubbed posh yachties and the other as ‘normal’ people as Gamble settled into his mangled reality observational routines, getting easily side-tracked but eventually returning to his original point.

Thus we had his conspiracy theories about why special ‘clown’ shoes are no longer necessary at tenpin bowling rinks, horror at one of his jokes being deemed suitable for 0 to six year olds on CBeebies and his experiences at the big boy gym, which included references to Prince Andrew not fit for a family newspaper.

Affable Gamble wasn’t side-splittingly hilarious, but funny enough for a Friday night titter, particularly when recollecting his Donnington gig to a heavy metal crowd (they wanted blood – and got it) and explaining why he won’t spend a night in a sleeping bag at a festival at his age (his age!).

He finished with a long, occasionally funny, sometime tedious, routine about budget hotel buffet breakfasts. It hit the heights with his description of the breakfast toaster as a hamster crematorium and sunk into weirdness when he slipped into character as a pain au chocolat (don’t ask) – and never re-emerged from it.

As for his choice of interval thrash metal music – Ed, just don’t!

Support came from Chloe Petts, the Amazonian, Crystal Palace-supporting ‘alpha male in the room’ whose entire shtick was her gayness and masculinity. Slightly one-dimensional, but whole-hearted nevertheless.