Theatre Review: Al Murray The Pub Landlord: One Man, One Guvnor – The Lowry, Salford


This review was originally written for The Public Reviews

It’s hard to believe that Al Murray’s The Pub Landlord has been in business for 20 years. Striding about stage with pint-glass in hand and a quarrelsome grin on his face, Murray’s witty, double-edged satire is as fresh as ever, as Britain’s favourite publican embarks on a brand new national tour ‘One Man, One Guvnor’.

The one man, two-hour show sees The Pub Landlord back on a mission to solve the nation’s issues and to build a new “guvnor-ment” for the citizens.

The first half starts with a bold showcase of unscripted comedy excellence as Murray introduces himself to the audience, embarrassing the late-comers and building a rapport with his future “MPs”. His quick responses and quirky one-liners are simply outstanding, displaying the best repartee skills in the business.

As conversation moves to immigration and religion, there are a few moments when Murray gets very close to the boundaries but his exaggerated character manages to get away with it. The downright silliness of some of his sketches downplay the “did he just say that?” moments, although some of the jokes may not be to everyone’s taste.

In the second half, Murray turns his attention to politics and current affairs, touching on everything from the Scottish referendum to education. “Who needs teachers when you’ve got Google?” he cries in hectoring cockney fashion. “Google doesn’t clock off at 3.15 or take half a year off in holidays”.

His blistering summary of the global economic system in under half a pint is also brilliant. His explanation of how credit and debit work is genius and his impressions from around the globe are simply hilarious. While his sketch about the stock exchange does tends to linger at times, it quickly picks up pace again.

The show finishes with Murray penning a seemingly on-the-hoof manifesto for next year’s General Election. The audience shout out political challenges, while Murray responds with a nonsensical raft of policies. It’s daft but incredibly funny.

Refreshing, ingenious and downright silly, Al Murray’s the Pub Landlord may have been in business for over two decades but he’s as quick witted as ever. A refreshing evolution of the character in a show that’s fresh, funny and fighting fit.

Reviewed on 15th November – Runs on UK tour until 30 May 2015

Reviewer: Donna Kelly