Jupitus delights Mareel audience … and a wedding besides

Comedian Phill Jupitus, most notably known for his team captain role in Never Mind The Buzzcocks, treated the audience to an eclectic mix of performance arts in his latest show “Juplicity”.

Phill Jupitus on stage at Mareel on Saturday. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Jupitus began his on stage career in 1984 as a ranting poet known under the moniker of “Porky the Poet”. As Porky he toured the country, anecdotes of which were told within the show, and supported the likes of Billy Bragg and The Housemartins.

He is currently touring his latest show Juplicity, and performed on Saturday in Mareel to a sold-out crowd.

Those who remember Porky were awarded immediately in the first half, as Jupitus supported himself as the aforementioned anti-fascist poet. He performed a plethora of long and short poetry, from a piece exploring the superficiality of mothers bedecked in labels at the school gates to witty haiku that delivered the joke with the same great punch of a one liner.

His final piece of the first half was a brilliant anecdote about a time where Jupitus, or in this case, Porky, met Sir Paul McCartney. This was the first glimpse in the show of the the power of Jupitus’ storytelling.

He held the audience’s attention so brilliantly in these moments that there was a stillness over the crowd that was always only ever broken with the delivery of the punchline.

It was brilliant to see an entire first half of poetry on a night of comedy. The poems, yes, were all witty and his interjections between were also as humorous. However, it was a brave move to start a night of comedy in full swing as Porky The Poet, and this move was highly rewarded as the audience lapped it up, and I believe, would hae like to have seen more.

After the break the headliner, and actual Phill Jupitus, took to the stage with guitar and began the second half with a couple of musical numbers.

He bantered, somewhat patiently, with the audience between his songs on owls and Coldplay, showing his disdain for both. His song about Coldplay held a note of agreement with the audience as many would be most familiar with Jupitus from The Buzzcocks and BBC Radio 6.

After a nod to the Proclaimers’ 500 Miles, Jupitus segued seamlessly into his main body of stand up. His show concentrated on his relationship with Scotland, with an impressive lengthy section on Shetland that would have been devised that day, if not, in that moment.

Phil’s charm comes across with his jokes, he cracks himself up as he shares his stories, showing us he is as invested in the moment as the audience. He relives his anecdotes with such detail that the stories not only provide laughs but also add colour to his performance.

One such story about a visit to a small football game with a friend was a highlight for myself. His retelling, with mime, accents and littered with jokes showed his strengths as a comedian.

From exploring his love of Scotland he moved on to talking about his own family. A topic we have seen, openly shared before, on Live At The Apollo, which he himself mentions as he opens the door, under their own request, to more of his loved ones. He is never one to be abashed and talks about family issues and sexuality with a frank openness that allows him to explore ideas and show how normal our own bodies and feelings are.

Jupitus’ show was a mixture of many forms, from his sharp, witty poetry, to his songs and finally stand up. As he moved through various themes his mixture of observational comedy and story telling kept the audience engrossed one second then rupturing with laughter the next.

He seemed to really enjoy his time as he shared his stories and poems, and I hope this was true, as I would really like to see the return of Jupitus and Porky to Shetland in the future.

As for the rest of Saturday night, Jupitus continued to delight Shetlanders as he visited a local wedding in Lerwick.

Popping in briefly to entertain the bride and groom who had mentioned they were sad to be missing the comedian due to the clash with their own nuptials. A man of many talents and much time for his Shetland fans.

Marjolein Robertson


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