Rob Newman at The Duchess

Last week, comedian Rob Newman headed down to The Duchess to perform a show that was both funny and factual, entitled The Brain Show. We had never seen a comedy show at the venue before and were suitably excited for such an intimate gig.

By Jane Howkins



The show was set out with a few rows of seats placed in front of the stage, with dim lighting setting the scene for a cosy and almost eerie atmosphere, something a lot different from the usual gigs The Duchess puts on. When Rob first took to the stage, it was with an errant caution, but his quirky personality and stage presence soon shone through. It soon became apparent that this is part of Rob’s charm and the character he portrays whilst on stage – eccentric, a little odd, ever so slightly formal but ultimately charming, and it works very well with his brand of comedy.

Rob’s current show is called The Brain Show, and for good reason as the show was based around his research into the brain, as well as the work of other scientists. That might sound a bit boring to the uninitiated, but Rob managed to make his show hilarious, with jokes about Richard Dawkins and his postman mixed in with cautionary tales of bad science. Anyone who saw Rob’s 2013 show (New Theory of Evolution) will feel at home seeing The Brain Show, with similar themes running throughout.

As is the nature of anything containing so much factual information, sometimes the jokes overreached and there was a bit too much science to joke in the ratio of the set. However, it was still very refreshing to see a comedian trying to do something different than just standing on stage and telling the same old observational jokes again and again, especially when it’s this obvious just how intelligent Rob really is.

Musical numbers also featured in the second half of the set, with Rob deftly playing his ukulele alongside funny little anecdotes. A particular favourite of the show was the song performed at the end, called Get a Wiggle On, in which the audience were convinced to sing along, and according to Rob did so in a hilariously creepy robotic manner.

All in all, Rob is definitely worth seeing if you get the chance, however a slightly longer show or a warm-up act may be a good idea next time too.


Rob Newman performed at The Duchess on Thursday 18 February 2016