ALAN Carr performed the first of his three nights at Manchester’s O2 Apollo last night. The chat show veteran is visiting Manchester as part of his “YapYapYap” tour. Max Merrill was in the audience for us…

Taking a break from his Channel 4 show, Alan Carr performed a funny yet somewhat underwhelming set in his unmistakable style.

The set began with a nod to some of his favourite Manchester haunts, including an anecdote involving the infamous and now closed Stretford pub “The Drum.”

What followed was an energetic and raucous combination of standard Chatty Man chat coupled with some enjoyable anecdotes.

Alan whisked the audience through inevitable jokes about homosexuality, fame, his appearance and his love life.

He included stories from his childhood, went on a rant about tripadvisor reviews, and try to paint himself as just another middle-aged man with normal problems. Carr consistently addressed the crowd and tried to relate most of his material back to them.

While it was all funny and witty, the audience was never quite pushed over the edge into fits of laughter.

It is hard to find a fault in the set, but despite regular laughs and constant entertainment, Carr failed to convert smiles, chuckles and giggles into big belly laughs.

By no means was this a bad gig – the jokes were consistent and the atmosphere was great. It just lacked those moments that make stand up golden. Those moments where you laugh yourself silly and find yourself gasping for breath as the comic fires quips like a machine gun.

After the intermission, Alan allowed the audience to take photographs in what is fast becoming a standard stand up feature. A particularly eager audience member asked for a selfie and Mr. Carr lay down on the stage obligingly.

Indeed, he interacted well with the audience and at times it felt like being invited to the Chatty Man’s living room.

While a few chats with audience members about dogs and romance went smoothly, Carr did well to recover from an ill-advised rant about Woolworth. The comedian was gently reminded of the tragic fire that broke out at a Manchester Woolworth’s in 1979, which meant that his joke about the now defunct retail chain fell a little flat.

Carr chuckled at his mistake and briskly moved on, keeping up a steady pace of nasal narrative.

However, those who have seen his chat show or stand-up before will have felt slightly let down by some recycled material. With a style as distinct as his, it may be hard to branch out into unfamiliar territories. It is safe to say that Alan played it close to home.

What was surprising was his excellent physical comedy – Carr drew his biggest laughs through body language and enactment. His pouts, grimaces, silly walks, and gesticulation kept the audience members giggling.

Judging by some overheard conversations and “the word on the tweet”, some punters left the O2 Apollo satisfied. For the £35 a ticket admission, yours truly came out left wanting.

By Max Merrill

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