Stamp! Stamp!

Steve Bennett, Chortle | Posted on August 1st, 2007

Last year, Gordon Southern was rather overlooked with his show Solutions, which was positively ram-packed with great jokes at a cracking pace. This time around, he’s taken a more relaxed approach – and the result is, unfortunately, a much more ordinary hour.

Stamp Stamp tells of his globetrotting over the past year as a self-proclaimed ‘international word clown’. Well, mostly it’s his trip to Australia, where his wife is from, and various depressingly dismal hotels and service stations across the UK as he plies that word clownery.

Some gimmicks have been employed to enliven what could otherwise have been the stand-up equivalent of looking at someone else’s holiday snaps. The most important of which is what he calls a Victorian iPod’ – a number of music-box mechanisms nailed to a pieces of wood – which provide the quietly melodic incidental music.

He’s a likeable act, good company and skilled at creating a cheery atmosphere, incorporating bizarre audience interjections without missing a beat. It makes for an enjoyable hour, even if the anecdotes are generally slight.

The big deal for him this year was visiting Uluru – the ancient geological feature formerly known as Ayres Rock, at least by white folk. He tried to climb it, showing disrespect to the aboriginals for whom it is sacred, and subsequently blames whatever goes wrong in his life, however minor, on the ‘curse of the rock’. It’s a rather unconvincing way of stringing things together.

There are routines about Ryan Air, Steve Irwin, Indian call centres – all routine fare, even if Southern finds his own gags in there. In all, it’s a nice enough hour, but offering nothing to really stand out in an overcrowded festival.

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