Review - Dave Spikey, Sunderland Empire

If laughter is the best medicine, Dave Spikey is worth getting ill for.

In the space of less than two hours Bolton's answer to Steve Martin came, saw and conquered a packed-out Sunderland Empire.

He displayed the rare, but priceless, gift of making ordinary, mundane life seem incredibly funny.

Right from his first entrance on to the stage he held forth, despite seeming lost in the expanse of the theatre's huge auditorium.

He did begin, though, by having an affectionate dig at this very publication: "It says Sunderland's seafront has a beach and a promedade – really? A seafront with a beach? That's a novelty."

And his one-liners continued machine gun-fashion, each one funnier than the last.

Enormously fat women were the main target of the first half of the show: "She didn't know she'd been pregnant. I don't think she was – I think she ran into a pushchair and the baby got wedged in the folds of skin."

But the former haemotologist also had time to lament on the state of his beloved NHS and some of the cerebrally-challenged people he says its underfunding has forced it into employing.

"I told him to right click on his mouse, so he wrote click on it!" had the audience both laughing, and crying.

And he also had time to dig at the Government's attempts to cut down on binge drinking: "10p on a pint of beer. That's about an extra 1 for a night out. Wow, that's really going to persuade you to stay in and watch Grand Designs!"

He seemed more relaxed after the interval, now changed into a natty black satin suit, as he relayed tales of the funny, but again not-too-bright, schoolfriend Derek Ridley, who could not have been named worse, with his Jonathan Ross-style speech defect.

Or there was the horror of having to drive his son's car while its radio was jammed on Jazz FM and the delights of Cleo Lane.

"Cleo – either learn the words or shut up!"

Dave rounded off the evening in style with his own, unique, analysis of some classic song lyrics.

"Sometimes the sun goes round the moon – does it *****," was his first.

"There's gonna be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town – mmm, wonder where?" followed on quickly, and brought an amazing night to a breathless close.

Absolute comedy brilliance.

Simon Marks.