Phil Ellis: Unplanned Orphan (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Phil Ellis: Unplanned Orphan

Unlikely tale told by a comedian who knows his business

Anything we tell you about this show will spoil it. Seriously. Stop reading now and just buy a ticket. And don't go reading anything by less scrupulous reviewers either. You're still reading? OK. We'll do our best.

At the age of 30 Phil Ellis found out he was adopted, which prompted him to take stock and reflect on how things don't always go to plan. Keep that in mind – it's important. As Ellis relays his calamitous and unlikely tale, proceedings do not always run smoothly. A few flubbed punchlines and technical hiccups have the audience giving each other the side-eye as the expected comedy narrative is derailed. Ellis can't catch a break, with even his sound technician seemingly not fully on board with the show's requirements.

Stay with him though. If you're willing to go along for the ride (and we urge you to do so) then Ellis emerges as a very clever comedian with a deep understanding of the genre. Are you still here? Get to the box office. I bet you used to peek at your Christmas presents early.

Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 5.25pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).

Phil Ellis: Unplanned Orphan

  • 4 stars

Lee Martin for Gag Reflex. Phil's life was going great. He'd lost everything in a break-up, moved into a shared house in Manchester, been asked to leave his full-time employment and had just turned 30. It was at this point that his parents felt that the time was right to tell him that he was adopted. It wasn't, but it did…