Performance Review

Ian Shaw: Songs from the Homepage at Widcombe Social Club

John Christopher Wood


A jazz singer in a Comedy Festival gig? What's going on? Well, readers, a great deal. Ian Shaw is indeed a jazz singer; also a very funny man, also a great raconteur, also an astute political satirist, also a committed campaigner for the rights of refugees. That enough for ya?

He kicks off the set with a version of Yellow Taxi which is done with a range of jazz improv startlingly different from our Joni, at times very funny, while still completely in the spirit of the original.

And on we go. In the course of the evening we get a hilarious take on adverts for testicular comfort in men's underwear, a wickedly accurate take down of Priti Patel and her talk about immigrants, though she's one herself; followed by a massively poignant song Ghosts (not funny) which nails everything that's wrong about her attitudes.

There's amiable chat about his life and career, and his friends in the comedy world, though in no sense self-aggrandising name-dropping. There's why it's important to say he's gay, but without any tub-thumping on the subject. His take on Noel Coward's Mad about the Boy being a musically and comedically satisfying case in point. There are other re-worked 'homepage' songs, and also excellent bitingly funny ones of his own.

Altogether a richly entertaining evening in the company of a hugely talented, warm, and humane man. Lovely!