“I hate being camp,” says Alan Carr, which would be surprising if true – his signature style having secured TV ubiquity and national-treasure levels of affection. (His show title, Regional Trinket, riffs on the latter status.) But the thought of Carr unhappy in his camp skin need not long detain us. It is, like everything else he says onstage, a gambit of only the most fleeting significance, this one volunteered mainly to justify a saucy riff on no one fancying effeminate men.
There’s certainly no one in the audience hating on camp Carr: after all, it’s an attitude he wears lightly and deploys to fine effect, in a show recounting – very digressively – his recent wedding and married life. One might wish – I occasionally do – for a glimpse of some hidden depth of feeling, if only for variety’s sake. But, even as Carr ranges across meaty matter such as his husband’s alcoholism and (briefly) Extinction Rebellion, nothing disturbs the prevailing tone of animated superficiality.
Happily, the jokes are good, and Carr’s sense of his own ridiculousness as endearing as ever. From the opening story, in which a fellow train passenger contrives, with his testicles alone, to delete from Carr’s laptop the script for this show, we’re in the hands of a man with a flair for the arresting image. In a show that’s lavish with showbiz anecdote, a choice gag follows about why Carr agreed to appear on Who Do You Think You Are? before a joke about his secret non-binary past that ends with the deathless punchline “… and that’s how Gabrielle lost her eye!”
The show’s ostensible focus is his recent wedding – officiated by Adele, no less – and married life on a Kentish farm. It all sounds very bijou – or would if Carr weren’t scouring the glamour for truffles of indignity and squalor, like the droll section on night-time supermarket staff. So as we flit from LA nuptials via hobnobbing with Celine Dion to a Mexico honeymoon, Carr focuses instead on his ego, his flab and his bald patch. None of it is heartfelt – I’m guessing he loves being camp, really – but it’s usually a laugh.
At Sunderland Empire on 22 October. Then touring.