IT was torrential rain and parts of Manchester and Salford were beginning to flood on Tuesday (September 13). But that did not stop our entertainment reporter Will Stevenson braving the weather to see Limmy Live! at The Lowry theatre…

Surrealist Scottish comedian Brian Limond – more commonly known as Limmy – might have become famous for his cross-platform sketch comedy online and his celebrated BBC Scotland programme ‘Limmy’s Show’, but on Tuesday evening at Salford’s Lowry Theatre he proved that his vulgar, variety show shtick can work wonders in any medium.

The huge screen that dominates the back of The Lowry is essential to the performance for all but those in the front rows; much of Limmy’s comedy is in his uniquely emotive facial expressions.

He acknowledges this early in the show – comically overreacting to situations the audience request, including “Brexit” and “S*** my pants” – but promises that this show will have more to offer for the people in the nosebleeds than a standard comedy show.

Without spoiling anything, he delivers on this promise later in the show.

The comedy of “Limmy’s Show” – which ‘Limmy Live’ is heavily based off – is at once broad and pitch black.

As said, Limmy’s face can produce some spectacular laughs alone, but he mixes this slapstick with an intelligent, damning indictment of some of the more unsavoury parts of Glaswegian society, such as a look at drug culture and how it interweaves with poverty.

This same blend is present in his live show, but the much less intimate nature of the stage means that the broader laughs take to the fore.

Indeed, ‘Limmy Live’ takes on a camp, pantomime quality with plenty of call-and-response audience interaction and knowing winks.

At one point, Limmy picks out eight members of the audience to perform a Tina Turner dance-off, the winner of which went home with a trophy.

These features might turn off some comedy snobs but were clearly thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd, as Limmy earned room-rattling laughter throughout his two hour set in front of a nearly sold out 1,700 crowd.

The show opened with a 15-minute segment of “traditional” stand-up comedy.

He endeared himself to the local crowd with a hefty bit about trying to work out where exactly he was performing tonight: Manchester or Salford.

When he questioned the audience on this, he gets a large “Salford” as the reply.

Once that’s done with, it’s time for the characters.

This is where the comedian truly shines, though none of the characters he inhabits are given a proper introduction, making it somewhat hard to follow for a casual viewer unfamiliar with Limmy’s previous work.

This is a ‘best of’ show; it’s a treat for his fans and doesn’t attempt to be any more inclusive than that.

So old favourite characters, including introspective stoner Dee Dee, ridiculously camp and soft spoken game show host Falconhoof, the always sketchy Mr. Mulvaney and more are hauled out onto the stage in increasingly ridiculous and hilarious situations that put a new twist on their usual acts.

A particular highlight is the character of Raymond Day, a fraudulent TV psychic who only ever tells his clients bad news.

In this live show his ‘talent’ takes a particularly dark twist, breezily informing the client that he is destined to be bullied for all eternity, to the audience’s delight.

Limmy once told The Guardian: “in my own mind, I can joke about anything” and he proved that with an abundance of jokes that toe the line and quite a few that bolt right past it, sticking their middle fingers up on the way past.

A great segment that proved this to be true was Limmy’s unique twist on Question Time.

The segment takes 80 per cent of its content wholesale from a sketch on his show, but involves a hilarious, cathartic release of a twist come the end.

That sums up ‘Limmy Live’ really.

The show is characterised by bizarre, unpredictable twists and unusual set pieces involving familiar characters.

The show is anything but a traditional comedy gig, it’s got more in common with a manic, high energy street performance than a Stewart Lee gig – but that is no bad thing.

‘Limmy Live’ is the performance of a comedian in the ascendency and it is worth keeping watch over the Scottish talent.

Nobody knows what is to come for him, but if this show is any indication, it’ll be wacky, unapologetic and funny as hell.

By Will Stevenson

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