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Why Can’t I Just Enjoy Things – Soho Theatre

South African born, but raised on the Isle of Man, Pierre Novellie is a true raconteur rather than just another ‘stand-up’ comedian. He says about his current show Why Can’t I Just Enjoy Things, currently playing at Soho Theatre Downstairs, a venue well suited to this type of entertainment, that “before the Plague and WW3 I was a chortling apple-cheeked blacksmith and now I am a scowling wretch in a tattered cloak”. His show is said to be “Observational comedy for those who don’t like observational comedy”.

Pierre Novellie
Pierre Novellie

After a slightly tentative start, Novellie had the audience in the palm of his hand as he regaled them with his hour-long, well-structured story about himself and what he loathes about life and people. He is blessed with a mellow speaking voice which is very attractive to listen to and I must say that 60 minutes passed very quickly. Beginning with how 3-star reviews were of no use to anyone, presumably to wake up the various reviewers in the audience, as if they needed waking up, he quickly dealt with audience members in cinemas and theatres, especially a certain type who attends The Play That Goes Wrong without realising that it is supposed to go wrong, and that is what makes it funny! He then dealt with, in no particular order, fish fingers, Bruges, chips (“frites”), mayonnaise, ketchup and the amount of salt and water it contains, girlfriends, fish blood and many, many other pet hates of his and others, before ending up with Asperger’s Syndrome, saying how much he loathed the current wave of having to medically label those who appear slightly askance of accepted behavioural norms! At least, I think that’s what he said, and he said a lot, BUT brought everything together to fashion a very satisfactory conclusion as a good raconteur should!

Novellie’s story is continually amusing, bringing smiles to all and often laughter, something to send the audience back to the bar, or home, still chuckling or discussing the more serious elements of what Novellie had to say, which is just as it should be. An hour well spent, and worth catching either at Soho Theatre or on Pierre Novellie’s extensive tour of small venues throughout 2023. Recommended!

4 stars

Review by John Groves

Before the plague and WW3 I was a chortling, apple-cheeked blacksmith and now I am a scowling wretch in a tattered cloak.

The show is observational comedy for people who think they don’t like observational comedy. A mixture of high-brow and low-brow references from five-star receiving, award-winning, hit-podcasting, Frank Skinner-supporting Pierre Novellie.

Mon 30 Jan – Wed 8 Feb 2023

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  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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