On Saturday 19th February, The Times’ broadcaster, columnist and comedian, Matt Chorley, appeared at Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts as part of his humour-fuelled tour across the UK. Impact’s Head of News, Lauren McGaun, reviews Matt Chorley’s new stand-up show, ‘Who Is In Charge Here?’
Matt Chorley started his show in style, wheeling in a suitcase with a bottle of wine, describing his entrance as a “work event”. The journalist, known for “doing Times Radio in the morning and being on reception in the afternoons,” is so far detached from the typical Westminster bubble, instead drawing his own comparisons to Jimmy Carr. His comedic interpretation sets out to explain the current state of politics, with an emphasis on mockery throughout.
By critiquing Nottingham’s local politicians from the start, Chorley pulled no punches where Nadia Whittome, Lilian Greenwood and Alex Norris were concerned. Chorley’s long experience in Westminster showcases both a national and local expertise for politics, allowing him to pull off humour in a way which is also informative. “I’ve been covering politics for 17 years. I started when I was 12,” Chorley remarked, jokingly referencing his career experience to date.
Whilst Chorley’s comments alone were enough to attract audience laughter, the comedian also skilfully used repetition and facial expressions to boost the hilarity of the evening.
Just as the Prime Minister was ambushed with a cake, so too was the Lakeside Arts audience
Positioning his sketch show within the context of ‘Partygate’, Chorley used cake as the centrepiece for his performance. Just as the Prime Minister was ambushed with a cake, so too was the Lakeside Arts audience, constantly captivated by every last attack on Britain’s leading political class. If MPs had any credibility going into Chorley’s show, he well ensured every last shred was ruined by the end of the performance.
Lizz Truss was compared to the Queen, Dominic Raab was described as a “details-oriented man” with no details, whilst the Home Secretary was Priti “loves a crackdown” Patel, and those were just his initial targets.
In laying out just how disastrous politics had become, Chorley proved all optimism had gone out of the window
Despite some of the audience viewing his Jimmy Saville remarks as distasteful at times, Matt Chorley ensured he wasn’t censured, able to speak his truth about all key political figures and parties. In laying out just how disastrous politics had become, Chorley proved all optimism had gone out of the window. “What I’m not going to do is lift your spirits. There’s no happy ending to this.”
Whilst ‘Who Is In Charge Here?’ was very much led by Chorley, at no point was the audience left behind. From consistent interruptions – where the broadcaster was ready to walk out and let the audience take over – to a light-hearted quiz on the latest news cycle, Matt Chorley ensured this wasn’t a one man show.
The Times Red Box presenter ended the event full circle, turning back to the show’s original question of who is in charge. “For the last eight hours, I’ve been telling you what to do. I think that means I’m in charge,” he confirmed. It’s safe to say Chorley was in charge that night and continues to be in the political comedy area, brutally showcasing the current state of parliamentary decisions.
Chorley proves the adage that ‘if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry’. And laugh the audience do – in bucket loads.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image courtesy of Lauren McGaun. No changes were made to this image.
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