What’s your favourite flag-based one-liner? Don’t have one? You will after seeing Milton Jones’s latest show. The wild-haired ‘Mock the Week’ regular has puns aplenty about national banners. Well, I say ‘Milton Jones’. It’s actually his great-uncle – explorer Sir Randolph Digby Jones – who, in the first half of tonight’s show, flags up the importance of flags to the Wimbledon crowd. But behind the balaclava, false beard and vague West Country accent, he does bear a striking resemblance to his one-liner-slinging great nephew…
Sir Randolph is one of Milton Jones’s many ploys to add variety to what could otherwise be an exhausting 90 minutes of relentless gags. Overhead projected cartoons, daft props and a handful of theatrical tricks also help keep the momentum after the interval, when Jones dons a fedora and one of his trademark loud shirts – this time with the sleeves ripped off.
Unlike his previous offerings, in ‘Milton Jones and the Temple of Daft’ the bewildered comic strings together his hordes of smart puns with a daffy Indiana Jones-style narrative. The plot itself is more contrived than Indy’s 2008 reboot, and even Jones gets a little confused. But the story doesn’t really matter – it’s a neat framework that a few hundred of the comic’s beautifully constructed pieces of wordplay can be hung on.
Piles of zingy non-sequiturs – covering sixteenth-century hoovers, exploding tortoises and a family of failed magicians, among others – are woven into the nutty narrative. Occasionally, to keep the story moving, old gags are recycled, and there are a handful of groaners in there. But it’s largely killer over filler in ‘Milton Jones and the Temple of Daft’. Sculpting intricate punning quips is difficult enough, but by moulding them into an adventurous tale, Jones’s one-liners reach a new height.