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Review: Andy Parsons — Live and Unleashed, but Naturally Cautious at Leeds City Varieties

Spitting Image writer Parsons is still a pro at political satire

Andy Parsons: Live and Unleashed — But Naturally Cautious

Having only seen Andy Parsons on BBC's Mock The Week before, I didn't know what to expect of his comedy, bar his distinctive accent.

And I must admit it took me (and the audience) a little while to warm up to his comic style.

He strode onto the stage at the sold-out Leeds City Varieties to applause and cheers, but the noise wasn't immediately replaced with roars of laughter.

But by the second half, when his attention had turned to UKIP, Ed Milliband and the upcoming General Election, his material was electric.

The former Spitting Image writer proved that while his anecdotal, personal comedy is OK, his strength lies in his political satire.

And that, I think, is what I wanted from him in the first place.

With comics like Jason Manford, Michael McIntyre and Peter Kay, anecdotal is what they do. It's all family holidays, childhood memories and laughing at their kids.

Parsons veered in that direction, but I just couldn't relate in the same way. Because Parsons isn't a cuddly, family-anecdote kind of comic — he's a sharp-tongued satirist with a booming accent and no fear of taking down political heavyweights.

By the end of his set, after he had successfully belittled UKIP, mocked Milliband and despaired at the state of the government as only he can, Parsons became a crusader for grass-roots political action.

Using the defeat of the pasty tax to great comic effect, he urged the audience to get involved with causes they cared about and stand up for the values they believe in, and it was a warm, inspirational moment.

I don't want to hear about Andy's car journey dramas, his experiences with high boards at the local swimming pool or why he loves his bus app.

But get him started on nonsensical VAT application, what would happen if the UK followed the US tradition of sons, daughters and wives following their relatives into politics, or creative ways to get around the bedroom tax, and I'm all ears.

I enjoyed the show, even if a lot of it didn't have me crying with laughter.

I only wish his second-half material would have been the basis for the entire show.

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