Rhod Gilbert claims he’s a new man when he takes the Spa Grand Hall stage on Tuesday night, in the Man with the Battenburg Tattoo.
Easily outraged by the little things, he tells us his calm persona is the result of keeping a rather large anger management diary. The record is cue for him to launch into numerous witty recital rants - much to the delight of the audience.
The 50-minute half builds slowly, beginning with ad hoc banter with the audience, including the odd heckler whom he craftily overrides.
Minus some empty balcony seats and the odd few in the Grand Hall, it’s a large mixed crowd, there to laugh at the Welshman’s misfortunes - an incompetent electrician that can’t fit an upright plug socket - and his need to argue, for the hell of it.
The excitement tapers slightly towards the end of the first half before it is brought to a high with a revival of ‘the toothbrush joke’. There are a few additions to the televised Christmas version, but even for those who have seen it all before, it’s still hilarious.
The second half takes off with speed. A new prop - a duo pack of baked potatoes - is this time the offending item.
The tale ensuing, from the audacity of the inconvenient packaging, sets a new standard for the comic and has everyone laughing.
The set is well-structured with potent lines delivered on point. There’s one hesitation where the comic loses his mock French travelling chef accent, but which he coolly plays off.
The underlying plot, of the girlfriend and a trip to New York, ends surprisingly on a melancholic note, eased slightly by a humorous video slide.
Whether Rhod really has turned over a new leaf remains to be seen, but I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that someone or something rattles his cage again soon.