An evening with John Shuttleworth – Eden Court 17th March 2011.

Some months ago whilst browsing the Guardian listings magazine I noticed that John Shuttleworth was going to be appearing at Eden Court. I had heard some of his work on Radio 4 – for some reason they schedule this after 11pm in the evening – not an ideal slot. These programmes are normally of 15 minutes duration, so I was intrigued to see how a longer session would work.

Shuttleworth is a creation of the comedian Graham Fellows and he is a singer songwriter using a Yamaha Portasound electronic keyboard (skillfully played and programmed). Songs were interspersed with monologues on various themes which made the mundane profound – such as his observations on breads, and his performances in scout halls, old folks homes and hospices. One send up concerns an offer to play a concert with Billy Joel, but unfortunately, John mishears his agent Ken who meant a village hall.

Food is a recurrent theme in the Shuttleworth canon – sidesplitting songs such as Two margarines – describing the problems caused by having two margarines open in the fridge at the same time, Serial cereal eater – John likes his cereal, and How’s your Naan? – a wry comment on social care, spilled out between the talks.

John does not like soap dispensers, advises on paint brush care: Smells like white spirit – his advice to Kurt Cobain: “You should have read the label, lad”, and has severe words for the folk at Mars who got rid of the cardboard strip from Bounty bars – useful for writing shopping lists!!

Mr Shuttleworth whipped the audience into a fist pumping frenzy for some songs (Eggs and gammon – a bawdy commentary on an experience his agent Ken had after a meal), had a sing along (but didn’t like the sound delay back from the audience) and clapping along with his songs made him feel sad.

Some merchandise was for sale including fridge magnets – his advice: “if they don’t stick – check the fridge”.

I need not have worried about how Fellows would develop the show – the 15 minute programme format was skillfully developed into a 2 hour performance – with a short interval for a banana.

All in all a great evening – have not laughed so much in ages.

Thanks to RP for a great review!!

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