REVIEW: Stand Up Stand Up, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Andrew Westfield as Biff and, right, Chris Hannon as Colin
Andrew Westfield as Biff and, right, Chris Hannon as Colin

What do you get when you cross a stand up comedian with a bailiff? If that sounds like the opening line to a joke that’s because it is – a running gag of 100 minutes.

Otherwise it is known as Stand Up Stand Up – a black comedy by Jim Cartwright.

It is the story of two men, Colin, a struggling comedian, and Biff, a bailiff whose one desire is to be funny so he can win the affections of his three-year-old daughter.

The two strike up a friendship when Biff turns up at Colin’s flat to collect a debt. In return for lessons in being funning, Biff teaches Colin to stand up for himself.

The play is about male-bonding and tackling the inequalities in relationships and society – and also about the history of comedy.

From Charlie Chaplin to Michael McIntyre, Ken Dodd to Russell Brand, there is reference after reference to comedians and their routines.

Stand out, for me, was a too-short Laurel and Hardy song and dance number from Way out West and closing Morecambe and Wise song.

Double acts are relevant. In Stand Up Stand Up two heads are better than one – and the punchline to the play will make you smile.

There are lots of laugh-out loud moments and wry-smiles in the black-as-pitch piece delivered with panache, and restrained menace, by Chris Hannon and Andrew Westfield.

It is on at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on Friday May 19 at 7.30pm and Saturday May 20 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets: 01723 370541 or book online at www.sjt.uk.com

It is on at East Riding Theatre, Beverley, on Friday June 9 and Saturday June 10.

Tickets: 01482 874050 or book online at www.eastridingtheatre.co.uk

Cartwright’s Little Voice opens at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on Thursday June 15.