Paul Zerdin – Live Review – Lawrence Batley Theatre
By @Steve Crabtree, September 2017
If you’re into the Cowellesque TV talent shows, you may remember an English guy who travelled across the pond in 2015 to take part in, and eventually win, America’s Got Talent.
The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield is a far cry from his headlining of the world-famous Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, but ventriloquist Paul Zerdin is here tonight as part of his 45 date UK tour, alongside his cloth-eared side-kicks.
We’ve got a great turn out for the show, and as smart but casually dressed Paul Zerdin walks on stage, he leads us all in to a series of cheers, which simply but effectively warms us up before we meet his first co-star, Sam. Sam was the puppet that Zerdin used in his audition for America’s Got Talent, and during a series of hilarious jokes and arguments with his creator, he takes a shine to members of the audience. It’s a great way to kick off the show, before Sam needs to have a clean up in the washing machine, and Zerdin introduces comedian James Dowdeswell to the stage.
I had no idea a support act was due on stage, and haven’t witnessed a main-act being essentially a first warm-up act too; but it was a surprising but nice way to bring him in to things. Dowdeswell gets the audience laughing with self-depreciating put-downs, and amusing quips. His humour is dry, adult, but tasteful and it’s just right for the twenty or so minutes he’s with us. It’s his last date on the tour, and it’s pleasing that we got to see him.
We’re introduced to Baby, the puppet that needs no explanation when Zerdin returns to the stage, and it’s clear that we’re not just witnessing ventriloquism, but also a very good comedy show with a very talented difference. Baby wants to learn about life, and is prone to accidents… as some of the audience fall victim to!
The guy next to me, and the lady behind are in hysterics at the “All Mouth” show and it’s a brilliant way to spend a Sunday evening. My mum, who’s with me tonight is a big fan of Nina Conti, so her standards for a ventriloquist show are quite high. We chat about the first half at the interval and it’s clear that she doesn’t feel let down at all… and neither do I.
We’re introduced to a couple of new characters in the second half of the show; and learn that Zerdin ran over a fox on his way to the LBT tonight. We have more hilarity when a couple are plucked from the audience to appear on stage to take part in the act as we’re truly being treated to a laugh-out-loud show.
Old man Albert is also a firm favourite with the audience, whose wartime tales and stories with (for him) unfortunate sexual consequences prove to be another hit; and after two hours of wonderful entertainment, Paul Zerdin gets a well-deserved rapturous round of applause.
You can see why he took the crown on America’s Got Talent in 2015, and whether you’re in to the said Cowell-eqsue shows or not, Paul Zerdin is a very funny, likeable and clever guy. This has been one of the most entertaining shows I’ve been to this year, and I’d recommend anybody to buy tickets for one of his remaining dates.
If I was awarding stars, he’d take the lot. Without moving his lips.