Photo of Ivo Graham

Ivo Graham: Organised Fun
The Swan Theatre, Worcester 9th May 2024

Eton-educated Ivo Graham wanted to be a stand-up comedian from an early age. He recorded this fact on the application form for The Weakest Link while at college; a televisual experience that concluded with much personal disappointment and humiliation…the springboard for much of his comedy.

The first half of the evening introduced self-assured Peter and Jane (“So glad you found each other!”), a duo of Johns from the audience and their antics informed much of the circular narrative and punchlines for the evening.

Across town, Johnny Rotten may have been reliving the Filth and Fury. For those at the Swan we were living through the sanitised and mildly amusing. Graham reflected his audience’s humour in the same way the audience reflected Graham’s stand-up. Waitrose must have been quiet last night.

An alternative commentary was offered by the character beside me. From his vantage point of experience and a night of comedy with Jasper Carrot at his social club- a very different perspective.

The main premise of the night was the notion of Organised Fun and Graham’s enjoyment of setting up stag weekends and homages to populist TV shows. This allowed Graham to introduce spontaneous quizzes and games – helped by the audience. “So, Paul asked how many different nationalities are there in the theatre?” Oddly, there were not too many. Graham proved his worthy stagecraft by reversing himself out a comedic cul-de-sac.

“Jim Davidson is coming here you know? And I am definitely coming to see him.”

Ivo Graham kept informing the sell-out crowd he did indeed have a show; as he ad-libbed and encouraged the audience to participate, so could respond to their confident chiming. He admitted on a number of occasions he struggled to focus. The genuine joke about his father enquiring about a refund from his private school triggered a Mexican-wave of laughter. In truth the meandering 90 minutes show had a loose and fluid structure, however the Eton Mess of a night was an indulgent dessert of innocuous fun.

At one stage I was subjected to the side-eye and a commentary on the impact of Woke.

The on stage game of Trumps made up of audience linked data promised so much. The 16 participates on the stage seemingly enjoyed the time in the spotlight. Thankfully Peter and Jane’s confident demeanours meant Graham’s insistence that their participation was -“fucking shit” – meant they laughed off the disappointment and humiliation. As Lydon sang, “I could be wrong, I could be right,” comedy comes in many forms much like personal taste.

By: Swilgate Scuttler

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