Tue 1 May
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay
words: ANGHARAD BROWN
Rhod Gilbert has a habit of picking seemingly obscure titles for his shows, but for those of you of who watched series two of Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience, you’ll immediately understand the reference. In this episode, Gilbert tries his hand as a tattoo artist, but according to his mentor, in order to be able to do this he should go under the needle himself – cue Gilbert deciding on a ridiculous design (a cushion with a flaming Battenberg). The show started with a clip of this episode on a huge screen on the stage, which set the tone nicely and meant that those of the audience who had not witnessed this hilarious piece of television were also brought up to date. It also acted as a nice little plug for the new series, which is due to start on Monday on BBC One Wales.
Having last seen him perform during the Cardiff Comedy Festival gala back in 2010, where he tested out new material on the audience, I was pleased to see parts had made the cut with some of it forming the basis of the show. He quickly started the night by telling us that he’s no longer the grumpy, ranty and somewhat miserable bugger we’ve all grown to love. Instead, with the help of his anger management diary he’s managed to overcome these feelings and be less petty and angry. Throughout the evening, he read extracts from this diary to help tell the story of his volatile relationship with his girlfriend and all of the other incidents that made the diary in between, including an argument about a jacket potato, a toilet-roll holder that cost £6,500 and how he was pushed into getting that ridiculous tattoo.
His quick wit was tested throughout the night, with the usual, typically unfunny hecklers testing his patience. He dealt with this very well, citing them as the reason he always gets nervous when performing in Wales, where everyone thinks they’re a comedian. But after two hours of laughing very, very hard the audience left thoroughly entertained but with slightly numb bottoms. My only concern is now that he’s this new, calm and less ranty person, what on earth will his stand-up routine consist of?