Live Review: Bill Bailey, Wyndham's Theatre

Live Review: Bill Bailey, Wyndham's Theatre

This review first appeared in the Evening Standard here. Bill Bailey is touring the UK extensively in 2019. buy tickets here.

 

Is there a more loved comedian than Bill Bailey? Or a more versatile one? 

In this theatrical run for his acclaimed show Larks in Transit, he tells jokes, plays umpteen musical instruments and turns Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday into a hilarious post-Brexit 
moan. And that’s just in the first 10 minutes.

This cordial evening is often Bailey merely recalling incidents that have amused or irritated him. On a road trip, an American asked him: “Is Scotland in England?” 

In Indonesia he found the world’s worst phrase book and reads out some wonderfully clunky passages to prove it.

And there are also further excellent songs. Whether it’s Old MacDonald Had a Farm as if sung by Tom Waits or a Teutonic You Are My Sunshine, he breathes fresh life into the mash-up. His section on owl noises in pop is a hoot.

Bailey is not just loved and versatile, though. He is the most erudite performer this side of Stephen Fry. Who else would reference Aristophanes when confessing that they recently gave someone the finger?

If there is a caveat, it is that this gloriously dotty performance was marginally overlong at over two hours, partially due to an encore when he indulged his rock star fantasies, with foot on amp and volume cranked up to 11. Loved, versatile, erudite. And the loudest comedian too.

 

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