With an undoubted exceptional talent for ventriloquism, America’s Got Talent winner Paul Zerdin is touring the UK with his latest show, All Mouth. Starring a range of hilarious puppets, the show is interesting and entertaining – the main focus of the evening being the chance to marvel at how Zerdin brings the puppets to life without moving his mouth. Is this enough to sustain a full hour set? Not really. The jokes are mild, the characters are somewhat cliched (grumpy Grandad and rude baby screaming ‘boobies’, anyone?) and far too much of the act revolves around Zerdin repeatedly saying the same thing back and forth to his puppets. The Urban Fox is his best character in my view – a sassy fox from the street is a great idea but, again, the jokes fall too short to really make this laugh-out-loud funny.
Zerdin’s support act, Phil Butler, is a much warmer act and really gets the audience in the right spirits. His self-deprecating comedy and daft jokes are great fun – plus, his magic is pretty exceptional. How he manages to pull off some of the tricks is really clever – the best part of his act, however, is you barely notice how talented the magic is because he’s so funny. In some respects his set makes Zerdin’s fall a little flat, as the energy from the ventriloquist lacks somewhat.
The best part of the evening is without a doubt the final “sketch”, where the puppets act and sing independently. It’s quite a magical moment, though touching rather than funny.
If you’re a Paul Zerdin fan, it’s a great chance to see the puppets you know and love come to life. Catch the All Mouth tour – more info here.