Review: Jeremy Hardy at Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton

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Jeremy Hardy is familiar to many through his regular appearances in BBC Radio 4’s ‘The News Quiz’ and ‘ I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’. He has, however, been touring as a standup comic for more than 30 years.

He returned to the Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton, on Saturday (March 21) and, despite warning us that he was ‘rather poorly’, gave an assured and seemingly effortless performance.

A committed socialist, Jeremy Hardy brought sharp wit and a sense of justice to his left wing comedy. Wielding a revolutionary fist in a cosy knitted mitten, his modest delivery gently brought a most appreciative and affectionate audience face to face with the political mire. Unlike some left wing comics, his humour is not cruel, but intelligent and incisive.

He skilfully managed the inevitable tension between the focus on appalling aspects of contemporary society and the need to make us laugh.

His wit is both polemical and irresistible, leading down seemingly logical if uncomfortable paths then throwing us off-balance with a sparsely-crafted turn of phrase, as an example when he talks seemingly admiringly of Vladimir Putin’s skills as a strategist, following up with’ You’ve got to love Vladimir Putin- there are serious consequences if you don’t’!

The second half was in a different vein, here Jeremy relaxed into hilarious and surreal flights of fantasy, the comedy coming thick and fast, in full control of his audience and his material.

Marion Codd and Annie Morgan