mon 24/06/2024

Miles Jupp, Cambridge Arts Theatre review - life's vicissitudes turned into laughs | reviews, news & interviews

Miles Jupp, Cambridge Arts Theatre review - life's vicissitudes turned into laughs

Miles Jupp, Cambridge Arts Theatre review - life's vicissitudes turned into laughs

Finding the funny in medical emergency

Miles Jupp's latest show describes his experience of having recovered from brain surgeryWill Boase

It takes a talented comic to turn a horrible life experience into comedy, but Miles Jupp is nothing if not talented. Add in a bit of self-depreciation, a smidgen of philosophical musing and a dollop of ruderies about bodily functions and you have On I Bang, which charts the comic's diagnosis with – and, thankfully, recovery from – a benign brain tumour.

Jupp starts at the beginning: August 2021 and the Jupp family are on holiday. As with much of the comic's material, it anecdotally describes the everydayness of most people's lives, and, more specifically, the daily frustrations of being Miles Jupp. If it's not five kids being too loud and messy in the car, it's the public humiliation on a beach as he tries – unsuccessfully – to get into his bathers.

He quickly gets into the nitty-gritty of the show, describing – in almost poetic detail – the brain seizure a few weeks later that led to the discovery of the tumour. Jupp's often ornate language – deliberately pompous at times for a man seemingly born middle-aged – is a pleasure in itself and full of clever similes. “You might as well give a Large Hadron Collider to a pair of Highland terriers,” he says of his parents' inability to master even simple technology such as a television remote.

Medical indignities, such as doing an anal swab – complete with some physical comedy – or having a catheter removed get a generous runout here. But while there is some broad comedy in a show laden with laughs, Jupp also addresses some serious thoughts – of how the brain seizure could have happened while driving with those five loud children in the car, or how the episode, while now a fund of stories that can fill a two-hour show, is nevertheless a sobering reminder of how fragile life is. But each time the audience prepares to wipe away a tear, he delivers another well-placed gag; he even teases us by saying we'll have to come back after the interval to see if he survived the operation.

This is an impeccably plotted show, with every beat, aside and even eyebrow raise gradually forming a comedy quilt full of intricate detail. It's a masterclass in how to tell a story that engages one's emotions while providing big laughs too; noticeably, though, Jupp avoids what must surely have been a temptation to build to a showy finale.

Instead he opts for another clever callback and ends on a touching note that sends us home on a high.

In a show laden with laughs, Jupp also addresses some serious thoughts

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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