Suki Webster’s Guest Speaker: Museum of Comedy, London, 2018
Paul Merton’s Impro Chums: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2018
Pantomime: Aladdin: New Wimbledon Theatre, London, 2018
Paul Merton’s Impro Chums: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2019
One of the greatest free thinkers of comedy I have ever seen, Merton’s ability to mix meandering thought and improvisation is extraordinary and very funny. I have seen and enjoyed him many times over the years and he starred alongside Lee Simpson, Briony Redman and Suki Webster in Guest Speaker at The Museum of Comedy in London in June 2018. The show featured solo improvisation games based on suggestions from the audience. Merton was particularly impressive making a best man’s speech based on words fed to him by a member of the audience and as a Northern accented sports manager inspiring a snooker team based on audience phrases. Watching one of the very best made for a very funny and entertaining evening.
I saw him perform again at the Edinburgh Fringe in Paul Merton’s Impro Chums in August 2018 and again in August 2019. The show is always on my list of things to see at the Fringe with Merton and his familiar chums of Webster and Simpson together with Richard Vranch and Mike McShane. Over the many years I have seen them live, they have become Britain’s most prolific and entertaining improvisers effortlessly making up comedy on the spot by improvising suggestions made by the audience. Every show is different, and they are always hysterically funny.
In December 2018, Merton made his pantomime debut in Aladdin at the New Wimbledon Theatre where he played the role of Widow Twankey. He made a very convincing dame (and a great double act opposite co-star Pete Firman who played Wishee Washee), until he spoke with his familiar voice and humour effortlessly making the audience laugh with jokes songs and references to the popular television and radio shows he has appeared in that have made him a household name.