Leicester Square theatre, London
The comic who showered Fifa’s Sepp Blatter with banknotes reveals little of the person under the character comedy mask
What a coy coming-out party of a show this is from Simon Brodkin, emerging from behind the character-comedy veil after two decades on stage. And off stage, too: Brodkin is best known as the prankster who handed Theresa May her P45 and showered Fifa’s Sepp Blatter in banknotes. But this is ostensibly our first glimpse of the man behind those masks – or second glimpse, for those of us who saw the show’s early version in Edinburgh, two summers ago.
Troublemaker concludes with a reflection on male emotional inhibition, as part of which Brodkin confesses to having run scared of self-disclosure in his work – by hiding behind wide-boy alter ego Lee Nelson, mostly. Tonight, the well-heeled son of Hampstead Garden Suburb steps out from behind that working-class caricature. Or does he? What’s most notable about Brodkin’s first act is how, the Lee Nelson persona having fallen away, nothing authentic is revealed. Yes, there’s some likable self-mockery about his genteel origins, and anecdotes about pre-comedy life as a hopeless medic. But it’s superficial. You don’t feel, as he plays up his ineptitude at parenting and camping, that these stories are even true, far less that they conjure with anything meaningful about Brodkin’s life or worldview.
Simon Brodkin: Troublemaker is on UK tour until 24 April.