Review: Ed Byrne: “If I’m Honest” goes down a treat as Harlow Playhouse re-opens

Entertainment / Fri 3rd Sep 2021 at 06:54am

FIRSTLY, it was great to be back reviewing at the Harlow Playhouse. It has been a long eighteen months.

Secondly, well done to all the staff at Harlow Playhouse. In many ways, last night (Thursday Sept 2nd) was testimony to the hard work and dedication of Creative Director Rory Davies and his team.

So, on with the review of Ed Byrne’s “If I’m Honest” show.

There was close to a packed audience to see the TV star which is encouraging for the future of theatres.

It was understandable that Ed started the show with a “now where were we?” however he got the balance right. He will be aware that Covid jokes may be restricted to that.

The beauty of Ed Byrne is his command of the english language. Not only does the show flow beautifully but he has some show stopping lines.

He talked about exercise during lockdown and described triathletes as the “the neapolitan ice-cream of boring”,. He then described why he was reluctant to work out as it is like “hanging a picture in a burning building” and the best he could do would be “ending up looking like Iggy Pop”.

The core of the “If I’m Honest” show was age. Age from the perspective of a 49-year-old man. Much of this revolved around his relationship with his two sons and his relationship with the world.

This was not tired “angry old man” territory but a loving and very funny reflection of where he was in the world. From passwords to the passage of time, it was all played out with master timing and as we said, a great love of language and ability to fashion a phrase. Some, like his reason for not doing Strictly were more straight-forward than others.

There was also a joy to being back on stage and Ed admitted that. His encore at the end made reference to playing a drive-in and he said he would not take touring and playing to audiences for granted (he still might not play Hove though!).

Ed Byrne had played Harlow on a number of occasions and clearly enjoys the Playhouse (and it is just up the road from his home near Stansted) and the audience liked him.

There was just one use of the audience as part of a piece on pre-natal classes and it encapsulated his ability to be gentle and yet manically razor sharp. A bit like the knife sharpening machine he bought.

For Ed Byrne to be truly appreciated, you have to take in the whole two hours. The whole show was seamless and was very much a complete piece from beginning to end.

Ed Byrne was a great first act back at the Harlow Playhouse as he has such a positive vibe and a lust for life (see what we did there). There was a palpable joy etched don the faces of the audience as they were back in their beloved theatre.

We hope Ed Byrne and his audiences enjoys the rest of his tour.

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