Regular appearances on Radio 4's Loose Ends have swollen and broadened Graham Norton's audience. The former Mother Teresa of Calcutta now wields a microphone and works the audience like an old-style stand-up; it's when he decides to interview one of the punters that things get weird... well, weirder. Norton retains the psycho-autobiography framework he hit upon last year, but deliberately digresses so compulsively that we never hear the end of the story of his Great Love. His characteristic camp bitchery is still well to the fore, making a virtue out of working that little bit too hard. However, the freer nature of this year's format means that if the audience isn't on his side, he too readily succumbs to the temptation to move ever further away from the show's through line. But on the right night, he remains an acerbic joy.
Written for The Independent.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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