Spencer Jones, Soho Theatre review: 'Welcome back, Spencer - and all the oddity that entails'

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**** Spencer Jones, Making Friends is at Soho Theatre until April 20.

For all the things that a performer can develop through practice, hard work and training, there’s a degree of charisma that you either have or you don’t - and Spencer Jones has it in spades.

To use his own word, the comedian has the “twinkle” that convinces otherwise right-thinking audience members to go along with him.

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Which is why he’s perfectly placed to talk about the challenges of isolation and lockdown.

His latest show, Making Friends, tells the story (well, a story) of the decision during Covid to leave London with his family for a peaceful life in Devon.

But this isn’t a stand-up discussing the oddities of living in the country, this is Spencer Jones taking the oddities of being Spencer Jones to the country and then bringing them back to the stage.

Early in the show he notifies the audience that some of the material may not be for them (God knows what the two people who stumbled in late because they missed the other show upstairs made of it).

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The act takes in puppetry, mask work, props comedy and musical pieces looped live on stage - all giving the illusion of having been dreamt up in a nursery school, while actually thoroughly thought through.

Spencer Jones - Making Friends is at Soho Theatre.Spencer Jones - Making Friends is at Soho Theatre.
Spencer Jones - Making Friends is at Soho Theatre.

Previous shows have often been complete flights of fancy, but Making Friends is grounded in the true story of what was clearly a challenging period in Spencer’s life.

But it’s still very silly and very funny, at its best when the beats are pounding away and we’re dragged into the clamour of an inner monologue.

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There is a running battle with a cockerel, audience soup tasting and the countryside challenge of egg logistics. And a very sweet bromance with “the twinkle”.

Welcome back to London, Spencer!

Spencer Jones - Making Friends is at Soho Theatre until Saturday April 20. Tickets are available now.

Spencer Jones is the star of Mr Winner (BBC One) and The Mind of Herbert Clunkerdunk (BBC Two), the creator of Deep Fake Neighbours (ITV), and can been seen in Ted Lasso, Upstart Crow, and Live at the Apollo (BBC).

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