Liam Withnail @ Monkey Barrel

Even with a difficult crowd, Liam Withnail excels in new show Homecoming

Review by James Gladdis | 22 Aug 2019
  • Liam Withnail on Club Comedy and getting political

Liam Withnail kicks off Homecoming with, if not a rant, then an explanation as to how fundamentally odd the Fringe application process is. He notes that although his previous show – Homeboy – ended up being thematically related to its title, this was actually a coincidence. He had to come up with the title in January, months before he had a clue what the show would be about. There was no such happy accident this time around. He admits that the show is something of a Frankenstein’s monster – the blurb isn’t even accurate, he tells us – and this admission makes the show all the more enjoyable.

Unfortunately, Withnail isn’t lucky with his crowd on the night. Drunken hecklers turn a joke about the meaning of the word ‘juice’ into a lengthy debate, but Withnail manages to strike the perfect tone between amiable and antagonistic during the terse exchanges; a testament to his talent as an excellent club compere. 

Withnail has a calm and collected stage presence, maintaining this even when discussing topics that clearly infuriate him, and exudes both confidence, patience and humility in equal measure. His material about language-barrier comedy clubs and a unique Brexit analogy are standout sections.

Despite Homecoming being, by his own admission, a hodge-podge of ideas, Withnail still manages to put together a coherent piece about belonging, culture and hatred, and the definition of juice.

Liam Withnail: HomecomingMonkey Barrel (Monkey Barrel 2), until 25 Aug, 6.40pm, £5/PWYW