Showtime: Michael McIntyre at the O2 Arena

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Michael McIntyre’s stand-up may not be the most innovative, but his ability to tap into the everyday aspects of British life has unified countless audiences and has helped McIntyre reach new levels of success. In the realm of Mr McIntyre, something as mundane as a kitchen cupboard can inspire stand-up that’ll contort muscles you didn’t know you had, while you try (in vain) to stop laughing.

“Showtime”, the 2012 arena tour, certainly showcases McIntyre’s talent in creating comedy out of the banal. The performance lasts for two hours, including an interval that McIntyre presumably requested so that he could have a lie-down after the somewhat “energetic” first hour of his set. Happily however, the time flies and you are never left bored. True, the show might not leave its audience in a continual state of side-splitting laughter, but there are moments of comedic genius that compensate for those that don’t pack quite the same punch.

McIntyre begins with an acknowledgement of the absurdly early ticket sales for the tour. “I can only apologise; I panicked,” he declares, as he pokes fun at the audience members that may as well be seated in another postal code due to the vastness of the O2. A smaller venue would certainly be preferable: even in my non-vertigo-inducing seat – which yes, I purchased over a year ago – I find myself watching the screens as opposed to the man himself. Facial features are hard to determine in a venue that seats up to 20,000. Yet the size of this venue undeniably pays tribute to the popularity of a comedian who was virtually unknown ten years ago.

At times the comedy seems a little tired, but who could launch an arena tour in 2012 without mentioning the Olympics or the Diamond Jubilee? Although these gags might seem a little out of date for an October audience, when the tour began in August the UK was still very much in the clutches of Olympic-mania. And you’ll forgive these dated quips once you see that they pave the way for an imaginatively amusing rendition of Prince Philip and her majesty the Queen hula hooping to Grace Jones’ “Slave To The Rhythm”.

The comedy gold arguably lies in one of McIntyre’s lengthier jokes about a trip to the dentist. Just as you regain control of your abdominal muscles, another line spoken as if the comedian was heavily anesthetised leaves you helpless. Further successful japes engage with the awkward aspects of long-term relationships, the difficulty in buying things online and a private game named “pants down” which fails to impress a fellow parent…

A word of warning for prospective audience-members: if you buy a drink in the interval, be sure you can retain full bladder control for the duration of the second half. Some jokes may catch you by surprise…

The show, which has now completed its time at the O2, continues to tour the UK until 3rd December. For listings of future shows visit:  http://www.michaelmcintyre.co.uk/listings/

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