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There's not one lame gag from Lycett; REVIEW: Joe Lycett at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff.

IT'S always good when an act manages to get a laugh before the show's even started.

And Joe Lycett's tour name, as well as being droll, is also a signifier for the kind of wit and whimsy packed into an absolutely storming set at Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach.

There's everything from Chaucerian mucky puns and wicked wordplay to calculated disassemblies of bigotry and conceitedness.

From his first moment on stage he's got the frivolously jaunty air of a man who knows he's about to absolutely blow the roof off the place.

And after a knockabout bit of repartee with the crowd - unfettered but always brought back within the control of the circus ringmaster - it's like watching a slinky the first time you set it in motion down a full flight of stairs: captivating, compelling, and oh-sosatisfying.

There's not a lame gag in the bunch - from a ripping parking fine debacle which went viral after an 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown appearance (YouTube it or, better still, see it live when he's back in Cardiff in February) to a scathing send-up of a stag do boor it's all top-end stuff.

There are callbacks and linguistic wizardry aplenty and the slick ebb and flow means that even what appear to be lengthy digressions on matters like drugs and urinal habits are all woven neatly into one another.

Arguably even more ingenious, though, is the recreation of online guerrilla campaigns to send-up everyone from local authorities and sham landlords to celebrities and unfortunately-named porn stars.

A man reading out his email correspondence and flipping through pictures of his Instagram feed shouldn't be this good - but when it serves to stick a pin in pomposity and nastiness and celebrate the dogmatic underdog it's a path I'm willing to follow.

There's a whole slew of dates in the new year after this run sold out - stick this on your Christmas list.

Ciaran Jones

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 17, 2015
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