Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Rich Hall review at Assembly

Rich Hall is one of the elite super-league of stand-up comedians whose skills and experience are so great, laugher is guaranteed. His control of the audience in the Music Room seemed effortless as he began his act. His confidence was so great Hall was even happy to give the impression that he did not know what he was doing.

The subjects Hall tackles are often familiar ones – President George W Bush, the Iraq war, and the city of Edinburgh. What marks him out is the tremendous quality of his material and the laconic, could-not-give-a-stuff manner in which he delivers it.

Often the audience was in hysterics of laughter, even with daft throwaway lines such as, “Liqueur in the front, Poker in the rear”.

For all that, Hall did not seem quite himself. You could not help but wonder if the smoking ban was adversely affecting his health. He seemed to be suffering serious nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Certainly as the show progressed, he looked increasingly ill. It made you think of alcoholics put on alcohol drips before surgery. Hall really could have done with half-a-dozen nicotine patches to see him through the performance.

He became a little unstuck when spinning away from a line about American soldiers making Iraqi prisoners of war build a human pyramid, he said: “The Egyptians invented the pyramid, the Iraqi invented the ziggurat” (the name used for the ancient monument at Ur, around 300 miles south of Baghdad). Not surprisingly, virtually no one in the large venue got this gag.

Nonetheless, it is always a pleasure to see Rich Hall in full flow. He is the man more than any other who carries on the torch of Bill Hicks. Just give him back his cigarettes.

Production Information

Assembly, August 4-28

Rich Hall
Running time

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price