It’s Muppet magic with funny man

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Ventriloquist comedy may sound like a niche market, but after the huge success of non-PC puppet show Avenue Q, funny people and their puppets are having a moment.

Paul Zerdin is one such funny man, and he’s been at the top of his game for nearly two decades. His brand new tour Puppet Master follows on from the critically acclaimed Sponge Fest, and features new character Alasdair Rimmer, an out-of-work TV presenter who interrupts Zerdin during the show.

Zerdin said: “Don’t be put off by the word ventriloquist. It’s not a man with a creepy doll, it’s a modern comedy show.”

Zerdin cites The Muppets as his heroes, and says he gets inspiration for his characters from people-watching. The stand-up show involves lots of audience participation, including a couple’s counselling session, where Paul puts voices in people’s heads – it’s really weird, but very funny.

Zerdin said: “No show is ever the same. I play with the audience, which can be a lot of fun and a bit dangerous.”

Zerdin’s career started when he was given Ray Alan’s book on ventriloquism and became hooked, practising in the mirror talking without moving his lips. He then worked as a magician and children’s entertainer before making his TV debut at the age of 20. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength, and his latest show is not to be missed.

At the Grove Theatre on October 4. For tickets call the box office on 01582 602080.