Review: Micky Flanagan, Back in the Game tour, Plymouth Pavilions
DEVON must have seemed an alien land to the cheerful Londoner Micky Flanagan. As he noted, no black people, no Greggs, and a crowd response of strange grunts and shrieks. But his down-to-earth show of anecdotes from a dysfunctional childhood, and now confused adulthood, were a delight. Micky's disarming charm is his simple, working man's view of the world. Modern life may be complex, but for Micky, still a rebellious teenager at heart, the answer is often straightforward – like why not steal sandwiches from supermarkets, he can't remember applying for a job scanning items at the self-service checkout anyway.
Micky is on the move all the time to bring his stories to life on stage, whether it's his dad coming home from the pub with a random drunk so he seems more sober, to showing us the bizarre loping limp from when he adopted West Indian urban cool as a teenager.
As a loser in the battle of the sexes, his show could be sub-titled Everything Women Feared Was True About Men And Actually Is. He tells us how men are obsessed with sex but are actually happiest just wandering about, looking at things; and how 9/11 got him out of trouble for staying late in the pub and forgetting the takeaway. We share his triumph getting on the number 37 bus at Clapham Junction after missing it at Putney and hopping on a train to catch up. And we enjoy his delight and pain at first cooking a sausage sandwich, then deciding he had cancer, and ending up with an eye-watering doctor's examination.
Micky's tales from the city are the bemused bar stories of a man navigating through a complicated world with the down-to-earth values of an more innocent era – a time when Jimmy Savile fixed it for kids rather than the other way round, and mums were allowed to scald their children with tea to make them pay attention.
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Wednesday's gig was first of three in Plymouth as part of Micky's Back in the Game tour, and he has added two more dates on September 12 and 13. Details here.