Review: If You Don't Get John Kearns, Then We Don't Get You

John Kearns: Don't Worry They're Here, Soho Theatre ★★★★★

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Review: If You Don't Get John Kearns, Then We Don't Get You John Kearns: Don't Worry They're Here, Soho Theatre 5

It's hard to fathom some people. Take the 800-strong crowd who snubbed John Kearns in a Russell Kane support slot last year (according to Kearns, it was so deathly quiet, you could hear a beer can cracked open). Take the woman who's nodded off in the front row this evening. Despite those egregious false choppers and monk-esque wig, Kearns is a good natured fellow, giving her the benefit of the doubt. "I could reference back to you all night, but I like to rely on my material," he quips to another punter.

And what material Don't Worry They're Here is furnished with. Seemingly inconsequential everyday snapshots — putting a fiver on the Cotswold Chase, trying to scan in a Creme Egg, slapping a concrete wall with your palms — are daubed with Kearns' pathos, his musings on death and cherishing the journey that wends towards it. He paints imaginary sweet shops furnished with phallic Bertie Bassetts, greasy spoons visited by fake John Majors — and just when he has you roaring with laughter, pans out to show the wider, sadder, more heartwarming picture.

Kearns is at his most joyous, though, when he himself struggles to contain the giggles, cranes over to the curtain and has a lick of those gnashers, until he's composed again. As for us, we're a rollicking mess for the entire set. The only thing we don't get tonight is how anyone could doze through such genius. John Kearns: Don't Worry They're Here, Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3NE, £12-£17. Until 30 September, check website for dates

Last Updated 19 September 2017