Lee Nelson: Serious Joker at the Lawrence Batley Theatre Review

Reviewed by Jenny Bray

I remember Lee Nelson, real name Simon Brodkin, as a chavvy, London wideboy, tracksuit wearing young risqué comedian. His persona has grown up a bit since then, although maybe not matured fully! He’s now looking a bit more dapper in a smart, matching two piece suit (complete with large security tag still attached though), which I guess is the, almost, ‘serious’ part of the show.

This show was a stand up comedy show, with just Lee Nelson for the full show (7 April 2017). It was held in Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley theatre, which is near the Market Hall multi storey car park. As it was after 6pm when parking it only cost £1 to park until midnight. The theatre itself is a short walk from the car park and is quite easy to find. The box office is on the right-hand side and has its own entrance, although you can find it from the other entrance too. The staff and ushers were very friendly and welcoming. There is a bar serving alcohol and a kiosk that sells sweets, drinks and ice creams. They also provide a free coat rack by the kiosk.

The show was approximately 45 minutes long each side of a 20 minute interval. Plenty of people had pre-ordered their interval drinks before the show started so we were able to get served quite quickly at the bar during the interval as we ran to the bar! It’s worthwhile remembering before getting there that the bar accepts cash only.

There was a large amount of audience participation throughout the show, including taking the mickey out of the first person to need to go to the toilet during the show (not helped by the fact that they had also turned up late!), managing to get one of the ushers torches off them and checking out who were the youngest and oldest audience members (13 and 72 in case you’re interested) etc. Everyone in Lee’s world is called a ‘legend’.

His humour is quite dry and wouldn’t be great if you’re easily offended or don’t like regular swearing. I did chuckle lots throughout. His guess as to the type of dog that an audience member owned was good. However, some of his conversations with audience members went on a bit and I felt there weren’t as many actual, planned gags as I’d expected. He also told a few jokes that were a little too tongue in cheek for both me and the majority of the audience, including a bad taste one about Jimmy Saville. He also got quite political at one point and kept asking audience members how they’d voted, during a section on Brexit that I felt dragged a bit.

He was heckled a few times by a couple of rowdy audience members but stood his ground well and was very quick witted in being able to incorporate comments made in to the show. At one point someone shouted ‘mentality’ and he managed to mention that a few times throughout the show, linking it in to the topic he was covering at the time!

I was left with absolutely no idea whether he is actually married or has any children in real life, when not in his persona of Lee Nelson! Sometimes his stories ran true as a parent. I’m pretty confident that in real life he doesn’t really have a child named Nina, whose name came about as she was conceived in the back of a police car when the sirens were on though! I’m not sure why he tours as his persona of Lee Nelson rather than as himself now he’s not a full on chav with a tracksuit and cap, although I guess Nina wouldn’t exist if Lee didn’t.

As it was a stand up comedy show the stage wasn’t set as such. There were 5 lights pointing up at the back of the stage and then just him under the spotlight on the stage. He had great stage presence and his rendition of how he wooed his wife back while drunk was very amusing.

I didn’t full on belly laugh much but did chuckle lots. Some jokes were a little dated and some conversations with the audience went on a bit too long though. From the audience reactions I would say that some absolutely loved it and were on the same page with his humour but an equal amount felt the same way as me, that it was a little flat at times.

Rating: 3.5/5

Lee Nelson is currently touring with Serious Joker, for more information and tour dates visit leenelson.com.

For other shows at the Lawrence Batley Theatre visit www.thelbt.org.

Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen’s Square, Queen Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2SP

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