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    Review: Sean Lock - Purple Van Man, Liverpool Philharmonic, October 26

    Sean Lock - Purple Van Man, Liverpool Philharmonic
    We all know what the White Van Man thinks about current affairs, but Sean Lock decided that it was high time for another voice to be heard, Purple Van Man’s, and so he set off across the country on his sold out tour in his Purple Van to preach his manic theories and drunken ramblings to an aspiring audience that would sit and listen to him. That tour was bound for the Liverpool Philharmonic on Saturday 26th and as a huge fan of Lock for many years I went along with wide eyes and big expectations.

    As a veteran of both stand up comedy and recurring TV panel show appearances, Sean Lock is a man confident in his performance and in his skin, and this is obvious from the moment he introduces himself and comes bounding onto the stage with a huge grin. Dressed in his Jack Nicholson joker style purple suit, he greets Liverpool and compliments the wonderful interior of the Philharmonic hall before immediately launching into the first part of his seemingly random act, the death of Margaret Thatcher. Lock explains how this part of the show did not go down at all well in certain parts of the country, but he had faith that it would go down well here in Liverpool, much to the cheering agreement of the audience.

    Moving on with the show in no clear order whatsoever Lock deals with the issues and dilemmas he feels are plaguing the nation and provides his solutions, like who it would be better to share a sleeping bag with out of Ronnie Wood and Jeremy Vine, for example, and his passionate theory on public liquidising of convicted paedophiles for another. These are, of course, the ramblings of a mad man, but he manages to include just the right amount of practicality in each gag that you can’t actually argue with any of his ideas. Lock uses this technique of underlining a hilarious and ridiculous routine with a serious message to deal with topics like religion and politics without straying from his lovable buffoon like personality too much.

    The second half of the show, as Lock’s stand up routines always tend to, moves quite swiftly into a series of bits that have nothing to do with each other, but nobody cares because now that he’s warmed up everything he’s coming out with is pure gold, and no direction is required for the laughs to keep on coming. One lengthy section sees him compare the plight of a binge drinker to that of a moth banging their head on a light over and over despite the disaster that occurs each time. Another sees him detail a perfect world in which celebrities have to knock round at your house in order to advertise their latest product and all Big Issue salesman are located next to a shredder. All of this is aided by Lock’s hugely energetic and interactive performance that had him running around the stage and performing a series of silly voices.

    A previous gag about a badly designed Centaur comes fully into fruition during the encore and ends up stealing the show in a manner that he made us all promise not to discuss so as not to ruin the surprise for everybody else, so you’ll have to look out for the DVD release this November for that one.

    As I stated earlier, Purple Van Man is really just a series of random bits that sometimes tie up later on but often don’t, but that’s fine. And as a hugely talented writer in his other work perhaps Sean Lock could come up with something that had a running theme throughout instead of a series of bar fly debates, but that’s ultimately what he does best and there are certainly enough tired observational humour routines out there so I for one hope he doesn’t change his style anytime soon. For somebody that is now a pretty big TV star, selling out big venues across the country, it was a real treat to see him do his thing in such a beautifully intimate venue in the Philharmonic, and overall it was a brilliant performance from a truly unique comedian is his prime that undoubtedly encaptured the hearts of fans and newcomers alike.

    Nick Malone ||



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