Review: Nonsense: Redux

21 May 2013

ADC Theatre, Friday 17th May , 11pm

Pierre Nouvelle is a fantastic stand-up comedian and ex-Footlighter whose presence in Cambridge has been much missed this year. This show marked his re-appearance on the Cambridge stage and, I am very glad to say, it did not disappoint. Pierre provided a solid hour of laughter that left the audience very much feeling that they had got their comedic value for money.

Pierre’s show mixed observational humour with autobiographical reflection to great effect. I particularly enjoyed his routine about adverts for medication and his discussion of his briefly held job as a kung fu movie reviewer. He was even able to bring humour to topics as prosaic as buying eggs. Whilst his delivery was at times a tad unpolished, and he did occasionally seem to stumble over the transitions between jokes, this detracted little from his overall hilarity and actually served to make his stand-up feel more spontaneous and natural.

Hi set played well to the Cambridge crowd, to the extent that I think that, had there been any townies in the audience, they might have been left somewhat bewildered. However, since it was an entirely student audience, his jokes about Cambridge, exams and the uselessness of an ASNAC degree went down wonderfully. Likewise, his hilarious discussions of the conversion of the Vikings and the intricacies of ancient Welsh law were perfectly targeted to appeal.

Another great strength of this show was that it managed to almost totally avoid sex jokes and obscenities. Producing an hour of comedy without a single descent into the gutter is a true skill and one Pierre Nouvelle clearly possesses in spades.

Pierre also displayed great stage presence. He is a hugely likeable, charmingly bumbling individual who exudes friendliness and jollity; frankly, his resemblance to Hagrid is startling! He conveys the sense that he enjoys being up on stage just as much as the audience enjoys watching him.

One person speaking solidly for an hour can, all too easily, become monotonous, but Pierre headed off this risk through his lively and expressive delivery, as well as through an impressive array of funny voices and accents and some brief bouts of singing. He engaged with the audience far more than most comedians, with his show ending with a group singing of the Spiderman theme song, in Thembu.

Overall, this was an exceptionally funny show. I just had Pierre doesn’t wait this long before visiting Cambridge again!

Martha Fromson

Image – ADC Theatre