What on Earth was that? The Tim Key Show.

Tim Key
Walker Theatre

Take an average thirty six year old guy, add a bath tub, full of course, add a punnet of strawberries, some smutty playing cards, some abstract music provided from the back of the theatre by the mysterious Dougie and you will have the ingredients of a Tim Key show.

Tim Key is ostensibly a poet but delivers the lines of his shorter than haiku verses, in such a manner that one isn’t given time to think about what he said. His poetry in fact tonight wouldn’t even earn the title of doggerel but it wouldn’t matter. He is the act.  Spontaneously improvised, funny and completely enveloping.

There is no escape from this man who didn’t need a microphone. With a shout louder than a costermonger from his home town of London, Tim talked about everything. But I can’t recall what he actually said. If you were to map this show on a piece of A4 graph paper you would be unable to fit the high peaks on it. It was roller coaster in approach but most of his stuff got us laughing.

He would read his verses off pornographic playing cards and then discard them on the floor. Stage right there was a full bath tub which every now and again he would immerse himself into and then his actions in the bath tub would be shown on the white screen at the back of the stage. Naturally one of his forays into the bath tub he met a woman who kissed him and swam away, the second time he found a can of beer and started to drink it. Cleverly masterminded, artistically made films but to what end? The whole show was random and went nowhere. To put it into his own words, ‘there was a lot of travelling to cover such a short distance’.

On getting out of the bath tub he would pick an audience member to dry him off with a towel. The first victim was yours truly; he set it up earlier by giving me a towel at the start of the show so I guessed something was coming. The next thing I know I am up on stage drying his hair. Most unusual but somehow so abstract it was funny.

Tim Key…..Genius or clown? Is there a difference? His show had been conceived well and ninety high energy minutes passed by in what felt like seconds. He was a great silent talker. He communicated with his eyes, his gestures and movement and of course through the best known medium of speech.

As a reviewer I get to see the comedians that are big on TV right now and they can’t be on the stage for three seconds without the first reference to sex or the first profanity
appears. Then we are subjected to tales of sexual conquest and that is all topped off with a massive amount of SWP’s or swears per minute. It’s a drag and insulting to an intellectual or active mind. Has comedy really not come any further that it was when it fell into its “alternative,” rut in 1980.

Tim Key has done it - he has invented a new way. Yes there were a couple of swears but used in a controlled environment under strict supervision. He was abstract in the extreme, he leaves you wondering what you have just seen but being acutely aware that whatever it was you liked it.

The lad is good, he is entertaining and he is new. Let’s hope the predators of the television companies don’t give him a show that will ruin him. But I will make a prediction. Whatever happens next Tim Key will make the most of it and leave us all laughing. Strange, weird, avent garde. Yes, his show is all of those things but mostly highly entertaining. If he is on a loop and comes back next year remember the name and check him out. He’s good for a laugh.

Tim Key
This is a four star review.


Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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