An evening of West End laughter started off with some unintentional comedy as on arriving at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, the venue was wrongly advertising on its large hoardings the planned entertainment for the following week, providing some comic confusion in the queue to get in. With the staff cheerfully announcing that, yes, we would be seeing Frank Skinner not Mandy Patinkin, the night was set.

The Lyric Theatre is perfect as a comedy night venue, small enough for everyone to be close to the stage no matter where your seat is and, of course, as is typical for any comedy night, the front row was tightly packed with those knowing and expecting to be picked out for being talked to and quite possibly mocked by the comedian but ready to heckle back.

The warm up act was a great new comedian called Chloe Petts, a 6 foot tall humorous Londoner, whose jokes began from her funny experiences of being a "masculine lesbian" to flowing into her love of football using observational comedy, funny even if you’re not a football fan.


Following a short break, the main actor came on, Frank Skinner. Although he’s been around for a long time, hence his ‘30 years of Dirt’ title for this touring show, and many of the audience were possibly not born when he first hit success in the 90s, his delightful comedy was infectious. He is well known for his stand-up comedy and also for his former TV show with David Baddiel, and it was following that show and its success that they collaborated with the Lightning Seeds to produce the famous 'Three Lions' song, originally done for Euro 96 but played on many football occasions since. As one of those people not born when he was in his heyday, I found his stand-up routine was fresh and full of amusing laughs. He may be older and a bit more stooped, but none of this affected his comic timing.