Preview: The Week Ahead Oct 14 - 20

pajama men

After last week's frenetic activity on the London circuit this week there are only three gigs to catch and if you haven't got a ticket for the first one yet you might as well enjoy your night in. There had been talk of Ricky Gervais doing live shows in the guise of David Brent for a while and when tickets for his two dates at the Bloomsbury Theatre this Monday and on October 23 finally went on sale a fortnight ago they were snapped up in seconds, leaving around 110,00 disappointed fans bashing their keyboards in frustration.

I suspect Gervais may do some more shows after these work-in-progress gigs and I wouldn't even be surprised if an album followed. Maybe David Brent will finally realise his thwarted ambition and become the rock star he always dreamt of being at Wernham Hogg in between dreaming that he was the new John Sessions. Expect rocking renditions of Freelove Freeway from The Office plus songs from his recent YouTube tutorials including some mellow ballads to take the mood down.

The other big opening this week is New Mexico physical comedy duo Pajama Men at The Arts Theatre. Like Jimi Hendrix and Bill Hicks, Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen seem to have been embraced by UK audiences, who appreciate their fine tuned mix of slapstick lunacy and multi-layered storytelling (not that Hendrix and Hicks were into slapstick, I think you know what I mean)

Last time I saw them in 2012 they did an improvised show and it didn't really work for me. But this time they are back with a more tightly scripted piece entitled Just The Two Of Each Of Us. They have already performed it in Edinburgh and Melbourne and it features a variety of characters including spider-eating Beulah, Nadine, whose arm is missing and Franz, whose life it too easy. Always fast-moving and funny, imagine the Marx Brothers if they had read Dostoyevsky and seen Monty Python and film noir.

Elsewhere were are talking comedy of the very big variety, with Micky Flanagan coming to the O2 Arena for seven nights from October 16. Back in the Game is a great show which finds Flanagan playing the middle-aged East Ender to full effect. Success and money clearly hasn't changed him - he still likes a bit of peace and quiet and a sausage sandwich. The only thing that has changed is that now he is a familiar face it is harder for him to nick things from shops. It's a shame that he is at the cavernous O2, but then Flanagan has already played Hammersmith, Hackney and Wembley on this tour so he has certainly been getting around and not just headed straight for the biggest payday. Still, seven nights at the O2 can pay for a lot of sausage sandwiches...


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