Brace yaselves, boys an gals. A lot of detail on Stewart White’s (yep him off Look East) sexual adventures up the Larkman estate might not be your cup o’ tea.

But if you have bought a ticket to Karl Minn’s latest provocation I think you probably like that kind of thing, and want quite a lot more of it. You will not be alone, Mr Minns has an uncanny knack of selling out every show he puts on, and this return to The Playhouse, a venue he has packed for years has no empty seats tonight.

She Go is the throbbing heart of Larkman lady life and is so Norfolk that she can only come from Norwich. She has a straightforward approach to life with an emphasis on the physical. Often rather graphically so, but most of this audience clearly had bin there. Too often if not too wisely. She Go is one of several characters that Karl Minns has delighted us with over many years, and he has bravely decided to let her be the focus and of course the star of this latest show.

The gal from Larkman is always friendly, outgoing and maybe just a bit too keen to forge new relationships, even in Yarmouth, but she has a good idea of what makes people tick. She gives us a show that draws on the rich depths of Norfolk idiom and humour, throws in a good ole bit of squit and smut but still draws us in to have a soft spot for a gal probably best avoided if she come down your pub.

Karl Minns is a master of his craft, whether writing or performing, and his delicate observation of people gives us a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theatre. He pokes fun at what it is to be in Norfolk, and from Norfolk, but his humour is warm and inviting and has the overwhelming Norfolk characteristic of understatement, even sliding down the slipperiest of dirty slopes. You feel that the Vicar would appreciate it, even if he didn’t quite understand it, then blow me up pops the Vicar in the second act just to prove the point. And fiddle around with it for a bit. Well he is the Vicar.
The first half is all She Go, but after the hinterval we get a glimpse of other Minns characters, from the Vicar to Billy Boy Bollocks, copper Brandon Parva and Sid from Brancaster, amongst others. Every character is well defined and immediately likeable, even when you really shouldn’t, and they share that marvellous sense of Norfolk superiority and isolation that has precious little justification. If you have bought a cottage in North Norfolk and you come from London best you keep your gob shut for a bit.

Karl Minns draws frequently on the slurry-pit of irrelevance that is the Eastern Daily Press to draw our attention to the stuff that might matter in Norfolk but nowhere else, such as the magnificent tourist attraction that the Sheringham sinkhole turned out to be (readers, I looked into it) in a show that might be irreverent but leaves us happy that we live here and feel a part of a very particular community.

If you love Norfolk, or even if you are temporarily marooned here and need to keep smiling, this is the show for you. Karl Minns is relentlessly funny while maintaining a generally straight face with minimal but very witty gestures. A master of the craft of comedy, and a man who truly belongs to Norfolk. Just as well, given what he says about the proclivities of some parts of it. He also reminds us how pleasant the Norfolk accent is when properly rendered.

If you know the difference between a Bishy Barnabee and the Barking Smack then you are going to love this show. It might be a right load of ole Norfolk squit, but then that’s better than Suffolk squit anyday!

© Julian Swainson 2020


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