Monday 3rd October 2022 at York Theatre Royal
What do you do when you’re the big name for “an audience with…” and your interviewer is stuck on a delayed train? That’s what happened to Graham Norton at his York gig and he turned a screw-up of the rail services into a fortuitous opportunity for a rare treat: around an hour of just chatting to his audience, taking every cue to regale us with a funny story. Let’s just say there’s stage presence and then there’s stage ownership; Norton must be awaiting his keys to the building as I write.
Apparently this chatty feature was already part of the show, and they simply flipped the running order to allow for the travel delays to be sorted, but somehow I can’t imagine the original Q&A set up having the same sense of stand-up comedy that this improvised version did. Norton on stage alone enjoying some banter with his audience is a force to be reckoned with; an intermediary at his elbow might have made him a little less of an open book…
Once poor Konnie Huq arrived just in time for the second half interview, the tone and focus shift from the random curiosities of audience members (the chat show; previous work; roles in film and on tv) to a more direct focus on the topic at hand: Norton’s new literary offering, Forever Home. It’s interesting to see the lovable presenter and host extraordinaire that we think we know simmer down to a contemplative, insightful author type – and there are insights to be gleaned about characters and influences, but also surprisingly frank insights into Norton’s sense of self as a private figure as well as a public one.
So does the chat with Konnie do its job and sell the book? Absolutely – and if you like your literature plot-driven and full of brilliantly captured ordinary life in Ireland, it might even send a fair few into the previous releases too.
If you do get a chance to catch this tour, don’t hesitate – you might not get the unique opportunity for an hour of unmoderated chat with one of the most famous faces on British TV that we did, but you will definitely be thoroughly entertained by Norton’s unshakeable charm and the generous insights he readily offers.
Graham Norton continues his tour until October 23rd 2022 and you can find more information here.
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