The Lowry, Salford Quays
Hal Cruttenden’s returns to The Lowry in Salford to perform a special one-off performance of one of his most successful routines to date – his “Tough Luvvie” show. Ahead of touring his new show entitled “Straight Otta Cruttenden”, he has chosen the Quays Theatre to record the official DVD of his “Tough Luvvie” tour. Playing to a full house in the Quays Theatre, he proves that he is a charming and energetic stand-up comedian with a wealth of material, intelligence and wit.
Cruttenden’s comedy pacing and timing is impeccable in this well observed and brutally honest show. This naturally funny man first appears quite mild and inoffensive with his audience by reducing himself to a stereotype of a middle class southerner and comparing the way he looks to Martin Roberts from daytime television show Homes Under the Hammer. It is impossible to resist laughing along with Cruttenden’s unique mix of camp and straight, warm and catty humour.
Importantly, Cruttenden’s humour begins with himself and his family, he does a superb impression of his Northern Irish wife, before he begins to relentlessly shine the spotlight on others. As his show progresses, Cruttenden who self-professes to be a ‘middle class English tw*t’, seems to earn the right to take on the Irish, the Scottish and the Russian, poking fun at the stereotypes in the same way. It’s a very clever device and the show is skilfully structured with Cruttenden further challenging modern society – having a go at footballers, mocking the royal family and politicians and then, much to my delight, those people who post those inane ‘share and like’ poems on Facebook.
Throughout the show Cruttenden frequently interacts with his audience and despite being hilariously candid, he is professional and strangely polite. He banters with a couple on the front row who and skilfully works the material into the show; he spies a fellow in the crowd wearing a Iron Maiden t-shirt and proceeds to mock him (you’ve been warned) and he also scouts the crowd for the oldest audience member.
Hal Cruttenden gives an impeccable stand-up performance – I should know I was the woman on the first tier who laughed so hard that her stomach ached as she gasped for breath. Maybe I’ll make it on to the DVD? One thing is for sure, I’ll be one of the first in line to bag tickets for Hal Cruttenden’s next show ‘ Straight Outta Cruttenden’ when he returns to The Lowry on the 1st November…