Alice Burns

‘Muddle Class’: Jason Manford’s Last Night On Tour

It’s the Saturday night just after the final day of the Grand National… In the packed-out M&S Bank Arena, it’s safe to say the crowds are more than ready for a night of entertainment. Now the final night of Jason Manford’s hugely successful ‘Muddle Class’ tour, Liverpool was his final destination. The typical Manchester vs Liverpool rivalry is out in full force, and Manford knows exactly how to play it to his full advantage, getting plenty of amiable jibes at the expense of resident Scousers in along the way.

Throughout the show, Manford explores in hilarious detail the sharp contrast between the ideal man he’d like to be and the reality that faces him in the mirror each day. From his secret Jaffa Cake eating habits (including hiding the wrappers from his unamused wife), to his amusing escapades at a driving speed awareness course with a colourful Glaswegian, Manford maintains the crowd’s energy throughout the night with his quick wit and energy. An offshoot from this, Manford examines his status as a parent of five -yes FIVE – children and captures hilariously the tragic reality of selling his much-loved Jaguar for a seven-seater just to accommodate his growing brood.

He laughs at himself throughout the night, as well as his parenting struggles and triumphs as he delves into the not-so-glamourous reality of parenting. As he looks at himself, he acknowledges the ideal parent he aims to be, as well as looking at the parent he actually is, in hysterically relatable terms. From feeding ducks with brioche to picnic baskets with hummus, Manford ruthlessly examines his own muddling journey through the complex chasm of the contemporary British class system.

The comic effortlessly glides through his routine with classic likeability, talking the audience through his well-oiled routine going from his working-class roots as a kid growing up on a Manchester council estate, to a successful comic negotiating his way through Stockport’s Waitrose. With characteristic alacrity, he puts banality of everyday domestic events through a sharp lens of witty social commentary. From eating olives watching Jeremy Kyle to obsessively collecting pre-packed dessert ramekins; Manford is able to transform even the most menial of everyday events into side-splitting, cheek-hurting comedy.

Being the final date of a long tour, Manford seemed genuinely glad to see such a turnout, and thanked the audience numerous times for coming out to see his performance. Descending into uncontrollable laughter, tears streaming from the eyes, the whole auditorium was alive with buzzing energy throughout the night. With numerous quick-witted engagements with individual members of the front row throughout the evening, to whole acts of audience participation; there is no doubt that Manford knows how to work a crowd.

This was sharp-witted and insightful original comedy at its best; delivered by an expert performer on a chilled-out Saturday night in town. Troubles left outside; we were left in good hands.

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