Dom Joly’s Holiday Snaps – Live Review – Scarborough Spa Theatre
By Charlotte Oliver, February 2020
Famous in the early noughties for his prank show, Trigger Happy TV, Dom Joly has spent many of the intervening years visiting some of the most unlikely holiday destinations in the world – places more readily associated with disasters, war and dictatorships. Now a very successful travel writer, Joly’s new show explains this surprising leap and takes the audience on a tour of these locations via his personal collection of photos.
As no great fan of practical jokes or massive mobile phones, I was intrigued to see whether the destinations were merely sensational backdrops for more silly stunts. I couldn’t have been more wrong (well, apart from one exception involving an Eskimo but I’ll forgive him that as it was hilarious).
Joly’s manner is confident, witty and self-aware. From the minute he strides onto the stage and thanks us sincerely for bothering to turn out to see him, the audience is on side. He declares that the point of his show is to flog his latest book, but, as I come to recognise by the end of the evening, such flippancy is actually a thin veneer; as well as being very funny, Joly is actually deeply erudite and cares a whole lot, which gives the show a special quality and keeps the audience rapt throughout.
He talks us through his somewhat unusual upbringing and his subsequent broadcasting career, interweaving this personal history with tales of the places he’s been. His story telling is amusing, insightful and sometimes quite poetic, describing North Korea as ‘a place that somebody has taken all the principle colours from’.
We learn a lot of fascinating and humorous facts about the world and can’t help being swept along by his enthusiasm for the beauty of some of these unusual tourist destinations. Peppered with a few juicy nuggets about various celebs he’s encountered over the years, the pace is kept up throughout and I come away feeling thoroughly entertained and quite exhilarated at having seen so much of the world (and without having to do more than turn out for an evening).
The book he is promoting is jokily entitled The Hezbollah Hiking Club but beneath this typical Joly veneer we learn it is actually ‘a love letter to Lebanon’. After seeing that there is so much more to him than a huge mobile phone and daft jokes, I for one can’t wait to read it.