**** Immensely likeable personal-development spoof
In a saffron suit and a clip-on ponytail, Mullarkey expertly works the audience as he supposedly teaches us how to be "succeeders".
Anyone parodying a motivational speaker needs to be able to work an audience, and Mullarkey does so like the underrated pro he is. Within a couple of minutes, he has identified half a dozen audience "marks", and decided which one will be his main butt and which one he will pretend to be trying to seduce with his dreadful patter. His creation L. Vaughan Spencer is remarkable: running "succeeder" weekends at a hotel in Watford, spouting endless doggerel filled with meaningless buzz-words, and boasting of his experiences among various native peoples – a tribe of American Indians named him "Talking Bull".
He skips across the stage in a strange choo-choo-train step, teaches us how to align our chakras and even how to subject our hairstyles to a kind of Feng Shui. And it works so well because Spencer is not quite a grotesque caricature; even through all the absurdity, he makes us like him and keep on liking him. Not one of the year's big comedy sensations, but a solid hour of ear-to-ear grins.
Written for divento.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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