Johns greets us with a warm and friendly attitude, and from the start you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a genuinely funny guy. The Geordie dialect is certainly a plus when it comes to a warm sense of humour.
For fans of I, Daniel Blake the notable Ken Loach film, in which Johns played the leading role, it is worth pointing out that this experience is really nothing like that in any way. Johns is an experienced comic as well as an actor and this is a delightful insight into his take on life and comedy.
There are moments when Johns stutters over his words a little, and he explains this is his first night back at the festival, and that he’s testing new material. Like the seasoned comic that he is Johns even manages to make a joke of the fact that a particular gag doesn’t quite work out the way he hoped.
My five stars for this are not just awarded because we feel like we are in the presence of an semi-iconic actor, but because at one point we, the audience, found ourselves uncontrollably laughing even well into his next joke. He has the ability to tell a story we know is absolute nonsense, but he keeps his poker-face, and takes us from moment to moment of a completely made-up fable; takes us to the nonsensical punchline, and leaves us unable to draw breath. And he’s swiftly onto the next gag while we pick ourselves up and try to catch up with the next gold nugget of fun.
Johns keeps the evening slightly informal and we feel we could be sitting at his kitchen table, but we never feel the format of stage, audience, microphone and performer is undermined or ignored. It is a performance, and Johns’ skill and experience and genuine sense of humour shines through.
Gilded Balloon Teviot – Wine Bar till 28th August. 0131 622 6552 [email protected]