Review: Mundanity turns morbid for cult comedy hero John Shuttleworth at Stables

Graham Fellows as alter-ego John Shuttleworth
Graham Fellows as alter-ego John Shuttleworth

Jem Maidment reviews John Shuttleworth: My Last Will and Tasty Mint at The Stables, Wavendon

Back in 2014, comedian and writer Graham Fellows threatened to dump his famous alter ego, John Shuttleworth.

“I can’t do him forever,” he claimed, unnerving his sizeable cult following.

Will he now carry out what he previously threatened, by retiring him?

His new tour – My Last Will & Tasty Mint – hit Wavendon’s The Stables on Sunday night with a whiff of the ‘end is nigh’ about it.

Shuttleworth – billed as ‘Sheffield’s finest singer/songwriter’ – has always been obsessed with the mundane things in life: caravanning, cleaning paint brushes, defunct sweets from the 70s, his wife Mary’s shepherd’s pie, overpriced breakfast cereals.

But now he’s taken a darker turn, moving on to death.

The first half of his show reflected on his mortality in his own unique style with some terrific new material – while also touching on Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday, Donald Trump and the slow demise of bars of soap…

Post-interval, he continued with his morbid thread, before he treated a highly appreciative sell-out audience with some of pun-laden golden oldies, culminating in his standard sing-a-long, Pigeons In Flight.

Fellows has been a brilliant – and influential – fixture on Britain’s comedy circuit for nearly four decades. Those with a long memory will remember him as Jilted John, a one-hit comedy-punk act championed by the late John Peel back in the late ‘70s.

But it’s Shuttleworth, the character he created 30 years ago, who has endured most.

Maybe Fellows has no intention of killing him off, or even giving him a well-earned rest.

We’ll wait and see.

Not many niche acts can pack out The Stables on an uninviting Sunday night in January. But Fellows/Shuttleworth can.

Don’t do anything hasty, Graham…

* The show took place on Sunday January 29. Visit www.stables.org for details of what's coming up at The Stables.