HENNING WEHN: DAS NEUEN MATERIALEN NACHTEN
WIDCOMBE SOCIAL CLUB
Well, that fancy-sounding German title basically means what we call over here ‘work in progress’, i.e. your man (mann?) is trying out new material. Luckily for us, Henning of course has a Teutonic work ethic (as he is at pains often to remind us) and this work has progressed quite a bit so far. Unlike that of some of those lazy good-for-nothing English comics, as he sees them. The new stuff is basically hovering around the subject of Brexit, which while he frequently says he doesn’t want to talk about, he rather cleverly does. If this is sounding like a put-down, it isn’t. He is never less than fully engaged and energetic with the material, even if he is holding a bunch of sheets of paper in his hand, which he occasionally consults. Some of the new stuff doesn’t quite work, but most of it does; plenty of his trademark quips about the British character, from the point of view of his outsider status; lots of sly gags about politics, British and European, without being preachy or tub-thumping. The great thing about him, work in progress or not, is that he is never hesitant or fumbling about it, and always aware that there is an audience needing to be entertained. Which we are.
John Christopher Wood