Ben Elton. Middlesbrough Town Hall. 7.10.19

Becoming typecast, and therefore being expected to behave in a certain way night after night, seems as much of a hinderance as it does a help for an artist.  Just as you shouldn’t expect Axl Rose to leap into the crowd each time you see him, starting riots, then you also shouldn’t expect Ben Elton to perform in his traditional frantic, nonstop, manner show after show either; it simply is not possible.  Proving that the principle difficulty of being typecast arises when an artist themselves tries to live up to certain expectations, Elton’s performance tonight seems slightly staged, overly scripted and dialled-in as he, seemingly, tries to recreate the character of his youth in an energetic performance which feels too angry and irksome at times.  Playing slightly for the crowd, and their memories of the Elton typecast, tonight had its moments; but too many were lost in the distraction of the performance and an overly cliched gag reel.  Bloody expectations eh!?

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