Jack Gleadow @ Pleasance Courtyard

Old-school variety style makes for a disappointing debut from Jack Gleadow

Review by Yasmin Hackett | 03 Aug 2019
  • Jack Gleadow

Jack Gleadow’s name has been a hot-tip amongst circuit acts for a while. Coming off the back of a Leicester Mercury Award win (Comedian of the Year 2018) amongst others, it’s something of a surprise that Gleadow’s jokes don’t seem quite up to scratch in Mr. Saturday Night, his debut hour.

He seems to submit to his quality control, frequently insisting the jokes are “as good as they’re going to get” as they fall flat. Bits about Tinder and working in retail feel completely exhausted in an era of Fringe shows that are doing more. 

Gleadow’s strengths, instead, lie in the sections which rely on more physical comedy. When they succeed, that is. When they don’t, like getting audience members to play a tune on their bums, it’s painful. Despite this, Gleadow never betrays a hint of the notion that he is not enjoying every second of it. 

His reasoning for this show comes from a fascination with 70s TV entertainers, whom he admires with a knowledge that their kind have an expiration date – the result of a society that has progressed from misogyny, racism and the like. As a result, his stage presence carries a certain, careful nostalgia for that era, with winks and nods at the audience in Forsyth-esque call-backs. 

Without the showiness and glam of the 1970s in the bare Pleasance complex, Gleadow feels like an act cut loose from his context, making for a lacklustre hour.

Jack Gleadow: Mr. Saturday Night, Pleasance Courtyard (Below), until 25 Aug (not 12), 5.45pm, £7-£10