Jake Lambert ambles onto stage and asks us how we are. He’s an amiable chap. He doesn’t have many opinions, he claims. And he does just seem to be trying to get on. There’s a patter to his audience engagement that tells of club gigs being solid – he’s the right side of cheeky, doesn’t want to be offensive, and asks our thoughts on cancel culture later. Lambert loves a pun, and although they are patchy – some are old and others obvious, a few gems sneak in too – there’s a quiet likability there. And a sweet tale threaded throughout the hour of friendship when it really mattered.
Lambert does best when he’s telling a story. There are funny things in his life, and you can tell when something has genuinely caught his interest – whether it’s a helicopter or the aforementioned friendship, forged through kindness and epilepsy. He finds a gentle humour in the ridiculous, and when he admits to finding it awkward sharing personal information about himself it seems a shame, as he’s really at his best when he does. Even in this confession he places a solid laughter-generating gag with a tip as to how best to draw a halt to the PDAs (public displays of affection) of others that he finds so embarrassing.
The thing is, Liminal is patchy – like Lambert’s puns. Some of it really connects, and at other points he delivers almost hackneyed topics, that are clearly constructed for a club set but don’t really feel like they have a place within this show. Material about Michael Jackson allegations feels old, and a gag about Prince Andrew familiar. Yet the sharing of his experiences working at Legoland is gentle fun and enjoys a ring of truth that made it engaging and quite delightful.
The friendship forged from epilepsy is the heart of this show. Connecting a time of adjustment and real intimacy with a perspective that is unique, as Lambert wrestled with his own relationship with his body and mind. He’s informative and humorous while he shares punchlines in triggers and mishaps. In contrast to the other material he has constructed having written the punchline first.
Liminal is a show with promise and highlights, and Lambert a competent and engaging comedian – with a friend we would all be so lucky to acquire.
Jake Lambert – Liminal
Pleasance Courtyard, 3-28 (except 15th) August 2022