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Saturday, 16 December 2017

REVIEW: Gavin Webster at Whitley Bay Playhouse


Gavin Webster
Whitley Bay Playhouse
Friday 15th December 2017
Plus I’ve Got A Job For You Gav tv pilot

It was a night off for the Whitley Bay Pantomime and Gavin Webster was on hand to provide the perfect remedy to all of the hype that comes with Christmas.

Support came from the very capable Katherine Tanney.  Starting with a joke about her FitBit, she would look at self-image, dating and bring single. It worked as it was easy to relate to her position. I mean, how annoying are Christenings? Or other people’s children? It was a shame that her set was so short. It was the first time that we’d seen Katherine in action and we will be on the lookout for future dates.

Now Gavin Webster is a chap that we’ve seen on a number of occasions. Thanks to his previous shows we will crack up when someone mentions pandas or balsamic vinegar. The Geordie working class anti-hero is able to make acerbic observations of life in the 21st century. Who is better to pull apart the farcical elements of the annual celebration?

Naturally, as the set for the panto was very much in evidence behind Gavin, pantomimes were going to take a direct hit. As much as we love them, his comments were fair play as he dissected both the shows and the typical members of the audience.

As no fan of the Christmas works night out, I found myself in agreement when he described the best and the worst of it. At least it comes across that Gavin has actually experienced life rather than just sitting at home watching the Christmas Special of The Office. Of course, ending up in the pub means contact with the pub bore and the crazy statements that they come out with. For example, would you really want to see footballers swapping roles with hospital staff? Gavin had clearly met a view propping up the bar in his time.

After trashing Christmas, he headed to traditional Gavin territory with his take on university advertisements and the students they’ll attract. I do wonder if he was in my physical chemistry lectures back in the 90s. I never understood wave functions, and still don’t, but I can state the links between entropy and enthalpy, so it wasn’t a total waste of time. I too remember the students that he described and how they ended up “disappearing.  It is the recognisability of Gavin’s observations that makes his material work.” after the first Christmas break.

He concluded his set with a few musical numbers including an amusing take on Northumberland based on one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s hits.

Gavin provided the perfect to the excesses of the Christmas festival in a funny hour long set.

I’ve Got A Job For You Gav is the new Gavin Webster sitcom which is currently available on YouTube. It is described as ‘a pilot sitcom starring cult NE of England comedian Gavin Webster, comedians Matty Reed, Sammy Dobson, Dave Greener and Viz co founder Simon Donald. With actors and comedians Judi Earl, Alfie Joey, Cal Halbert, Suzanne Richardson and Brogan Gilbert.

The first episode is worth a watch. The tone is similar to that of Jack Dee’s Lead Balloon but without the middle class pretentiousness and lattes. With a clear nod to the movie Trainspotting, it has a local cast in a not-too-hard-to-believe scenario. Gav is a mini-cab driver who has to attend the funeral of his aunty, but finds himself meeting up with members of his family that he hasn’t seen in a while.

It is great to hear proper (and not forced) north-east accents in a comedy. Whilst the national broadcasters claim to create work outside of London, their idea of North appears to actually mean Manchester. Even the recent Hebburn series seemed to have large chunks filmed in the North West.  There is scope for a sitcom to be produced in this area and Gavin’s pilot is worth a watch.


The second episode has been filmed and will be screened live at the Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle on Sunday 31st December 2017 at 3pm. Details of the event, and tickets, can be found here: http://www.thestand.co.uk/show/29838/I_ve.

Review by Stephen Oliver

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