Review: Terry Alderton, Bloomsbury Theatre

terry alderton

"The apotheosis of comic dislocation". It's a description I once read about the Chuckle Brothers, but I think it could just as easily describe Terry Alderton. What on earth is going on in the Essex comic's bonce when he is performing onstage? Weird characters emerge, bizarre conversations erupt, the universe is turned on its head, as Alderton is himself at the end of the gig. Is he talking out of his arse? No, he is talking out of his feet. 

There is a theory that goalkeepers are the most deranged type of footballer and it just so happens that before Alderton was a stand-up he was a goalkeeper for Southend United. Maybe the ball hit him on the head a few too many times? Whatever the reason, his current stand-up shows are definitely entertaining, but also truly unique and utterly bizarre. Not always laugh-out loud hilarious, as I've tried to convey in this review below that first ran in the Evening Standard here, but a compelling case study for anyone who has ever wondered if comedians are different from the rest of us.*

Terry Alderton used to be a goalkeeper, but as a comedian he is anything but a safe pair of hands. Having made it as a mainstream comic, he flipped his conventional act upside down and now specialises in a risky, unique brand of highly physical screwball clowning. Not always hilarious, but often excitingly unpredictable.

The Bloomsbury audience did not take long to buy into the madness, homing in on his wavelength during support act The Two Johns, alias a bouffant-wigged Alderton and butterball musician Johnny Spurling. Like the headliner’s solo shtick, their knockabout antics were a reminder that surrealism comes via Barrymore and Butlin’s as well as Dalí and the Footlights.

After the interval Alderton returned, part-lad, part-Berkoffian luvvie, firing out artillery sound effects, non-sequiturs and numerous stream-of-consciousness accents before unleashing his trademark alter ego with demonic voice and dark, repressed desires. For the utterly bemused, a sweaty Lee Evans impression gave them something familiar to giggle at.

Proceedings ended with Alderton on his head pretending his feet could speak. Very watchable, but what exactly is one watching? Is it a man going through a nightly emotional catharsis, or a light entertainment loon larking about? I suspect a bit of both.

*Yes they are.

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