Kelly Kingham: Inside Out

Fri 7th – Sat 29th August 2015


Bethan Roberts

at 16:53 on 17th Aug 2015



Much of Kelly Kingham’s Inside Out might seem like inappropriate material for a comedy show. It’s largely concerned with regrets and missed opportunities, and the difficulty of starting a new life when you’re fifty years into your old one. Watching Inside Out does feel a lot like watching a man having a nervous breakdown live on stage, but Kingham seems aware of the uncomfortable atmosphere, and even courts it when he asks questions nobody is really willing to respond to, such as “Is anyone here on anti-depressants?” and “Has anyone here had problems with their penis?”

The material clearly resonates with a large section of the audience – when Kingham observes that although he’d assumed he’d get old on the inside when he got old on the outside, he still feels like the seventeen year old he once was, noises of agreement are heard from around the venue’s narrow room and strange pew-like seating. Though there’s a section of the audience for whom the show might seem less immediately relatable and more like a terrifying vision of the future, Kingham’s desperate energy is still a source of both amusement and fascination for the younger portion of the crowd.

Inside Out depicts more starkly than most stand up shows the frailty of the boundary between the comic and the tragic. Whilst there are funny moments, Kingham also deals with some pretty heart-breaking experiences, such as finding his wife standing naked in front of the mirror remarking that he used to be beautiful and she didn’t even know it. This is a comedy show which induces a far broader spectrum of emotions than just laughter, and whilst this might provide for some a more intriguing experience than your average stand-up set, it’s equally clear that for other this could be a discomforting and unsatisfying experience.

Though Inside Out delves into some dark places, it is a show with a hopeful message, detailing Kingham’s quest to start afresh late in life, not with grand, unachievable goals but simply telling himself “let’s get it wrong different this time.” Kingham is not necessarily a comic with mainstream appeal, but arguably that’s to his credit. He’s providing something genuinely different from the vast majority of other comedians, and in a world almost saturated with identikit comics, that’s really quite something.


Polly Jacobs

at 11:34 on 18th Aug 2015



In a room that seemed like a cross between a bomb shelter and a womb, this strange yet intense comedy seemed oddly fitting. Kingham's sketch was one from the point of view that only comes with the wisdom of experience: he is fifty three and his recent switch to the world of comedy from his previous unfulfilled years in a hated job is admirable.

The performance was at its best during interactions with the audience. Kingston was quick-witted, and easily able to sidestep awkwardness during technical malfunctions or the occasional joke that was not wholly appreciated. Kingham initially seemed nervous but this seemed to melt away during the act and be replaced with an unusual and unashamed openness.

Some parts were movingly lovely. Kingham spoke of his wife with moving emotion, despite offhand jokes about her which were only to be expected from a comedy performance. His sincerity throughout and polite nature on entrance to his show showed him to be genuinely likeable. Topics covered were not those one would particularly ascribe to the comedy genre. These included the everyday struggles of age and job difficulties although some parts did have across-the-board appeal.

He was enlightening, particularly to a person emerging into the world, as he seemed to have timeless understanding and to have an almost familial relationship with his audience. with his acute disclosure of personal information.

Not a typical approach to comedy, his material may be more relevant to an older audience, as his was a comedy of knowing empathy about life that can be occasionally difficult to engage with and fully understand with, from a young person's perspective.

An interesting but subtle 'carpe diem' message pervaded the act and this is always interesting. While some parts were universally hilarious, other parts were different and quirky, but the audience seemed to respond well to the show that was presented. Go if you feel like a change from the anonymous all-inclusive comedy that is churned out dispassionately. Raw at times this show is not to everyone's taste, but it is certainly an interesting diversion from falsely peppy and overworked sketch shows.


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