Saturday, 1 December 2018

REVIEW: Steve Vertigo: As Far As I Can See - The Casa Theatre, Liverpool.

At 6’7’’ Steve Vertigo cuts a striking figure as he takes to the small stage in the intimate one hundred seat back room of the The Casa Bar. 

Best known as a DJ, Manchester’s Steve Vertigo is well known in Liverpool where he’s been trying out his self-penned new material. He uses his physicality with the care of a man who bumps his head a lot but can’t stand still. Wasting no time, Vertigo launches into his mainly storytelling show with an exploration of alternative quantum theory, ‘Hard Sums’, based around humorous word play and a fictitious personal connection with Stephen Hawking and Peter Stringfellow (for reasons never really explained other than they both died while he was writing the material). His slow-paced delivery takes an irreverent stroll around disability, paranoia and academia with a tendency to over-explain. Vertigo can’t just leave a punchline and has the air of a mad professor at times. Something of a geek, he is a man with a message and it is obvious he thinks deeply about the rise of artificial intelligence and the invasion of privacy by stealth. Through self-mocking he highlights the relatively low financial cost of gadgets such as Alexa against the human cost of data collection. His audience interaction is limited by constantly answering his own questions but this is his style and it allows him to move seamlessly between segments. He is comfortable with an audience and didn’t seem to mind when some of his gags landed with a groan rather than a laugh.

Part TED lecture, part Ricky Gervais, a slightly bewildered Vertigo is someone a bit different and his material has a modern take on some real issues; ‘Everyone knows you can take a fifteen-minute break in the disabled toilet’. The performance would benefit from a careful edit and a slightly pacier delivery but there is some good fun to be had here and he saves his best till the last with an hilarious segment on being driven to dating himself. Vertigo understands the human condition and he is a refreshing change to the standard observational humour that has become mainstream on the comedy circuit. Risqué without being crude and with an engaging style, it will be interesting to see if Steve Vertigo can make the transition as a middle-aged comedian from the funny guy in the pub to the brutality of stand-up. This set has Edinburgh Fringe written all over it.

Reviewer: Barbara Sherlock
on - 30/11/2018

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