Review: Toby Foster at The Lyceum

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POOR Neil. He only came out tonight to see a comedy gig.

Now, the audience knows everything about him - that he lives in Swallownest, that he’s here with his partner, and that they have two children - one of whom was born by emergency caesarean at Rotherham General. He’s going to Florida on holiday and he had an Indian for tea. A pasanda, if you really want the detail.

Thus, this front row audience member becomes Toby Foster’s unwitting stooge for the night.

Barely a gag is told without the Barnsley-born comic turning to Neil and demanding some detail.

And somehow it captures the essence of Foster perfectly; a local boy-done-good who seems half here simply to have a chat with the audience.

He’s at his funniest when he’s self deprecating recalling one tale of someone complimenting his role as Fat Les in Phoenix Night. “I said thanks,” he remembers. “But that character was just called Les.”

Not everything works. An unpleasant gag about his granddad hitting his nana falls flat.

But mainly Foster - best known for his BBC Radio Sheffield show - is a mischievous delight. Thanks for coming out tonight, he says at the end. It’s unnecessary. The pleasure was ours. Even, you suspect, Neil’s.