Terry Alderton is an odd man. And this was an odd show.
The former football player has a distinctly recognisable comedic style: energetic, unpredictable, and occasionally impenetrable. All three elements were in evidence at the Norwich Playhouse on Saturday night.
Playing to a near-capacity crowd – the near part was made obvious and repeatedly mentioned thanks to two empty front-row seats – Alderton never quite seemed to carry the whole audience with him. Just as he frequently has ‘conversations’ with his own good and bad angels (turning his back on the auditorium and switching between voices), he seemed to find favour with different sections of the theatre with each line.
He received rapturous applause at the end so clearly got to everyone at some point, but with material ranging from midgets to music that defines generations some sections seemed hard going.
Alderton had a surprising amount of local material, with Hemsby receiving particular opprobrium plus mentions for Great Yarmouth, Wroxham, Potter Heigham and a brief period of mourning for Bernard Matthews. The biggest laughs though went to an impression of F1 cars going round a track (no, really) and a routine that consisted of his unbelievably sparkly trainers talking to each other.
At times it felt like the Mighty Boosh but without the costumes and considerably less smug; at other times it felt like a car crash.
There’s a lot of good stuff here, but Alderton needs a strong producer to rein in the extremes a little if he wants – as claimed – his next show in Norwich to be at the much higher-capacity Theatre Royal.