Live Review: Tim Key, Soho Theatre

tim key

This review first appeared in the London Evening Standard here.

Tim Key also appears at the Arts Theatre from December 7 - 10. Tickets here.


The comedy world was shocked recently by the sudden death of comic Sean Hughes. The impish Irishman may not have been a superstar but his storytelling style was clearly influential. You can see a lineage from Hughes to Tim Key, whose new show mixes oddball humour with a strong narrative.

Megadate is a shaggy yarn about a romantic night to remember and the fallout of lost credit cards and hopeful texts. I wonder how it will play on tour because it is very London-centric, taking us from bowling in Queensway to selfies outside The Mousetrap. It namechecks so many landmarks it should be sponsored by the Tourist Board.

Lots of lines are barely jokes when written down — “rarefied ribbons of gouda” anyone? — but are funny because of Key’s scruffy charisma and offbeat approach, whispering, shouting and sometimes inviting a fan to pour lager into his mouth.

Previous outings have boasted high-concept props, most famously a full bath. This is more low-key Key, although he does reveal himself to be a quick-change virtuoso with a talent for reappearing in unexpected places, as if his main influence is Whack-A-Mole.

A running gag about his faltering career is indulgent, given that he is a TV regular with Alan Partridge and elsewhere, yet this is a rare wrinkle in a tantalisingly clever show that also includes charming poetry and films. Like Sean Hughes, Key takes stand-up to new places. Join him on his journey.


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