The Argus: fringe_2011_logo_red_thumbRob Rouse is a man you’d happily have a pint with. His latest show, The Great Escape, which detailed his family’s move from London to the Peak District, revealed he’s witty, self-effacing and a born yarn-spinner.

You’d have happily propped up the bar, grinning, as the former geography teacher recounted how his dog jumped on top of an elderly neighbour and how he and his wife had suspected foul play, and not friendship, when she later made them soup to welcome them to the village.

It was all pleasant stuff, but not laugh-out-loud funny. Rouse’s show needed more killer jokes and tight one-liners to make it more of a rip-roaring comedy routine rather than a rambling and amusing conversation with a mate.

He got close to the former with gags about how his new area is full of single, elderly women (“If you’re over 65 and love talc, fill your boots, lads”), while his scathing attack on TV show The Only Way Is Essex threw in much needed bile.

Sadly, the rest of the hour-long show ambled along with predictable material about the difficulties of trying for a baby and the quirks of long-term relationships.

Not bad, but due to the flashes of quality, you’d suspect he’s capable of better.