Reviewed by Rachael Sulaiman.
Saturday nights can be messy affairs: getting too drunk to function, spending too much money on cocktails which aren’t even half price, and desperately hoping that it’s not another wasted weekend. Jack Gleadow takes the audience back in time to when the main entertainment on a Saturday night was variety. Showing them exactly why he has a multitude of awards to his name.
What’s necessary for a variety host? A big personality, that’s for sure, and Gleadow is almost like a cartoon. His cheeky grin and Hull accent, along with his surreal grandpa-esque outfit make him unforgettable. Gleadow as a performer has you laughing at every angle. Laughing in sympathy at his sob stories. Laughing at his physical comedy and random props. Laughing at his sweet childhood efforts at “magic”. Although it’s not always the done thing to laugh at dad jokes, the audience was helpless to Gleadow’s cheesy lines and puns. Sometimes skits felt too drawn out; however, any awkwardness seemed to add to the lovability of his character. Think the generation game: sibling to the audience, full of dad jokes while decked out in your grandpa’s finest.
Beyond his storytelling abilities, Gleadow transforms the venue into an entertainment show by including music and surprise props, toeing the line between stand up and sketch show. The clever use of music turns funny stories into full-bodied physical skits, which now come to mind whenever the songs play or Tinder is open. By using previous recordings, the audience could witness his worst nightmares both on screen and in real life - resulting in an original twist on a usually cliché trope.
With so much comedy requiring a serious understanding of topical issues, some absolute silliness was super refreshing. Simple, bring-your-mum-along and right on the funny bone comedy.
Jack Gleadow: Mr. Saturday Night runs at Pleasance Below at 17:45 until 25th August.