Giant screens stood either side of the stage at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena for the appearance of comedian Micky Flanagan, perhaps offering a metaphor for the larger-than-life Cockney and how his career has grown in recent years.
And from the outset it was a stand-up routine as part of his ‘An Another Fing arena tour that was worthy of one off the country’s top acts — a man who was once a Billingsgate fish porter but whose showbiz stock is at an all-time high.
A huge crowd packed into the city-centre venue but, unlike some of the stars on the comedy circuit these days, there were no gimmicks.
It was just Flanagan, his trademark curly locks, the audience and his observations on life told with rapier-like wit.
And the crowd knew instantly they were in for a night of honesty when Flanagan revealed the reason for there being no support act: he didn’t want a young upstart who no-one had heard of ‘taking his crumb’ (cash).
He then went on to address the fact that his management were concerned that he couldn’t relate to the fans so much these days because he is ‘now loaded’, to which he confidently exclaims that he is just the same as everyone in the audience, only richer!
I for one couldn’t stop laughing during the show..... not just your self-conscious little titters but your proper belly-laughs that are a pre-cursor to tears rolling down your cheeks.
Now I would love to give you a blow-by-blow account during this review, packed with details of the jokes that focused on everything from Flanagan’s bulging bank account to modern sexual habits and him taking a year off. But some of the language prevents me from doing so — this was definitely one for the over-18s.
Among the colourful words used were a fair few ‘C-bombs’, but as Flanagan explained, the audience need not worry because they were used in ‘the hands of an expert’.
Many of the jokes revolve around the 54-year-old’s early days growing up in the East End of London, including reminiscing about people greeting unwanted callers to their doors with a cup of cold urine (use your own expletive) thrown in the face.
There’s a bit of fun at the expense of celebrities including Liam Neeson and Sir Cliff Richard in the opening half, as well as a swipe at his mother-in-law’s ability to keep her cool under stressful situations including burglary but who hits breaking point and begins to swear because of a minor cooking disaster.
It is all done with hints about the trappings of his success, including doing circuits around his vast kitchen island while contemplating big decisions and swimming through £50 notes while discarding tenners.
The second half of the show focused on Flanagan plucking up the courage to tell his wife he is going to take a year off from work and the aftermath of the decision.....including hanging around the local shop stalking regulars with a detailed knowledge of their chocolate-buying habits.
One of the more hilarious segways is the tragedy of daytime drinking when you aren’t working, including trying not to be the first person into the pub before, as one of the ‘regulars’, retiring to your own spot in the boozer and not chatting to anyone.
The whole show was incredibly slick and perfectly on point without the temptation to try and localise. This was Flanagan, unashamedly as Flanagan — a formula that has got him to where he is.
If the volume of laughter was anything to go by the rest of the crowd shared my view that this was a performance from a man right at the top of his game.
I managed to catch one of two shows performed by Flanagan at Nottingham Motorpoint Arena.
But the ‘An Another Fing show is running until October and you can find further details or dates, venues and tickets by CLICKING HERE.
Flanagan is also enjoying success via his new Sky TV show, Thinking Aloud, which airs on Monday nights.
For more information about upcoming shows and attractions at Nottingham Motorpoint Arena CLICK HERE.