REVIEWS: Angelos Epithimiou, Octagon Centre, Half Man Half Biscuit, Plug, Sheffield.

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Angelos Epithimiou, Octagon Centre.

Not many could do that. But not many comedians are quite so in tune with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer - which is Angelos Epithimiou’s strength and probably his weakness.

Renton Skinner’s character – disillusioned former burger van owner Angelos - draws heavily on Reeves and Mortimer’s legendary Big Night Out with random props, absurd juxtapositions and sheer daftness - and it works.

But the best bits of Angelos are the bits that DON’T remind you of Vic and Bob or anyone else.

He tells a screamingly schoolboyish joke about sagging boobs, acclaims its feminist power - then comes in with the line: “I’m not a feminist though, I LIKE women.”

The funniest aspect of Angelos is the way he misunderstands and misrepresents his world. His malapropisms, slurred avoidance of names he can’t remember and his ability to sum up a topic by simply mumbling.

That world is not so self-contained and logical as, say, John Shuttleworth’s, but his ragged skits, impressions and slickly stilted jokes tumble into each other as badly as we expect.

But there are times when the amateur hour approach looks a bit, well, amateur. The University venue crowd didn’t care, they loved it.

Top moments were the sweeping brush flute routine, the quiz with wonderfully Reevesian questions like: “Which is the best of the three main things?”, his DJ session and finally his advice on life: “Don’t muck about”.

Thankfully for us it’s not advice he’s taken himself.

Martin Smith

Half Man Half Biscuit, Plug, Sheffield.

It’s hard to take Half Man Half Biscuit seriously - and that seemingly is just the way they want it.

Unlike most ‘comedy’ bands, however, there is much more going on below the surface than just aiming for laughs.

This may be why, more than 25 years after first striking a chord with their tales of daytime TV-infested dole life, they are still going strong and attracting fans from all over the country to one of their rare live shows.

With between-song references to the Botanical Gardens, cult Sheffield band Clock DVA and ‘those shops that sell everything’ close to the venue, singer Nigel Blackwell had the crowd’s local contingent eating out of his hand while the out-of-towners just laughed at his delivery and his mastery of bringing up obscure connections between things with no obvious link.

As if to prove that they may do jokes but are not just a joke band, one of their encore tracks was a cover version of punk band Dead Kennedys’ political satire classic Holiday In Cambodia. It’s the biscuits at their best. Let’s hope they never break up or crumble.

John Quinn