“This is not a fancy dress show; this is the way I always dress,” Mike Bubbins insists as he struts across the stage. Donning a paisley pattern shirt-and-trousers combo, and with upper lip hair aplenty, Bubbins’ chosen aesthetic suggests he recently hopped out of a time machine that boarded in the 70s. His humour is no less retro, with much of the performance harkening back to the decade that popularised bell-bottoms. There are moustache jokes, impressions of Elvis superfans, and wry comments about road safety in motor sports forty years ago.
Bubbins delivers his 70s-soaked set in a spirited boom, which makes his presence a commanding one. Though his routine mostly relates to a particular period in time, he proves himself skilled at capturing, in general, the essence of British humour. He’s sarcastic and dry and doesn’t shy away from grumbling about the things that irritate him. He taps into the British tendency to self-deprecate, and gets his crowd chuckling at the relatability of it all.
It’s also through his anecdotes and undeniable knack for impersonation that Bubbins successfully transforms mundane observations into droll commentaries on the quirks of society. Employing precise body language and spot-on accents, he brings to life a number of convincing characters. From meaty, tattooed revellers looking for a weekend fight to competitive vegetable growers desperate to produce the biggest onions, every persona he adopts invites peals of laughter from the audience.
Bubbins is quick to announce that if you don’t like the 70s, “it’s going to be a long night for you”. But even if you don’t think you care for Elvis or moustaches, Bubbins’ characters and anecdotes are enough to make an hour whizz by.
Words: Morgan Laing
Mike Bubbins: Retrosexual Male, Assembly George Square Studios, 4-27 Aug, 6.30pm