Paul Merton at Southampton Guildhall

Black Star Riders: from left, Scott Gorham, Chad Szeliga, Ricky Warwick,  Robbie Crane and Damon Johnson.  Picture by Richard Stow

Black Star Riders come under Heavy Fire on their latest tour

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Lacking. That’s the best word to sum up Paul Merton’s Out of My Head tour.

Lacking in atmosphere and lacking in direction.

The show delves into Paul Merton’s mind and his feelings about being admitted to Maudlsey Mental Hospital.

It pieces together a sequence of improvised comedy, sketches and stand-up.

It was the first-time that Paul had done stand-up for over a decade and surprisingly the stand-up was the funniest part. It’s just a shame that this was such a small part of the show.

A strange sketch and impersonation of Prince Charles and Camilla signalled the start of the hard-to-follow routines. They were at times awkward and it was hard to tell if they were improvised or just badly scripted.

The support provided from Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster was good, but a smaller more intimate venue would have been a much better place for their comedy style.

Neon puppets, a ventriloquist dummy and a giant sperm provided visual interest. To be honest, the giant sperm routine did make me laugh.

The audience were asked to contribute only once, which I think added to the lack of atmosphere.

If you are going to break the fourth wall, then please do it properly.