|Index||3 reviews in total|
Bill Bailey's 'Part Troll' tour is quite possibly the funniest thing ever filmed. Ever. The amazingly talented comedian completely owns the stage, and gets laughs from a number of different means - most notably his guitar, keyboard and drum and bass sequences. It's amazing just consistently hilarious this show really is; I have quite a good sense of humour, but even I rarely see a show that will have me covering my eyes because I cannot bear to watch the hilarious facial expressions of Bill Bailey as well as hear what's coming out of his mouth for fear of being sick due to laughing so hard. Threads involving the BBC news, George Bush's words of wisdom being implemented into a drum and bass beat (which Bill calls 'Drum and Bush') and hilarious sequences on the general attitudes of British people and the terrorist organisation 'The Axis of Evil' are particular highlights. Bill Bailey is a very talented man, and quite how he manages to think of all this stuff is a mystery to a less talented mere mortal like myself. He's been blessed with a face and demeanour that lend themselves to comedy brilliantly, and this may be the finest performance in the entire history of comedy. My throat was screaming for mercy by the end of the show...and that's exactly what you want from a stand up comedian. 'Part Troll' is majestic in every respect.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Most people have commented as saying that this is the best televised live show from the Black Books and Never Mind the Buzzcocks comedian. Live at the Apollo theatre, Bill Bailey brought us probably his greatest show. It combines his great observational jokes, his musical talents with almost any instrument, and some on the spot jokes. The best jokes of this particular show though are all the musical ones. I can remember the best songs and pieces of music: "Love Song" encompassing all aspects of love (betrayal, hatred and depression), "Skale of Music" with pictures of evil people to certain notes on the keyboard (including Adolf Hitler, Edi Amin and Chris De Burgh), "New National Anthem" using the lyrics of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah", "Drum 'n' Bush" using pieces of George W. Bush's talks, a funky "BBC News" theme, "Lady x 3" with German lyrics, and the Kraftwerk Tribute with German lyrics, using the words "Oakey Cokey" and appearing Lenny Henry in Pieces' Martin Trenaman. It was number 21 on The 100 Greatest Funny Moments, and Bill Bailey was number 7 on 100 Greatest Stand-Ups. Very good!
It wasn't until Black Books that I actually bothered to give Bill
Bailey the time of day. Up till then I had just taken him as an amusing
man who perhaps overplays his unusual appearance. In his Bewildernness
show I thought he had enough about him to be worth a look but that he
had too many weak spots. Despite this I decided to give his recent show
a look to see if things had gotten better and I was happy to see that
they had indeed.
This show is a lot stronger than his earlier one because he has a broader range of material to work with, is still as inventive and generally has funnier material where previously he had tended to tail off during routines. Here he covers the type of material I would expect him to do (ie "look at me, I'm a little man with a beard"), politics, news and different types of musical interlude. The mix works because it took away the impression that he was very much clinging to his troll image as his sole way of drawing laughs. Instead I felt that he had material to work with and that, no matter what he was doing, he had an imaginative touch running through it all (which I don't feel he does when relying on his appearance). At times it is very silly but he keeps the audience there so even if I wasn't laughing, I was still engaged by the flights of fancy he went on and the imaginative ideas.
As a showman he is a bit limited but his material was strong enough to hold the audience. I still prefer other comedians simply because my own humour is more acerbic and sarcastic (form a queue ladies) but he did well enough to keep me amused if not exactly rolling in the aisles. The show itself is well put together and suited some of his bigger musical numbers but when he is just talking and walking around on stage it doesn't feel like he commands the room although in fairness the place felt too big for comedy to me.
Overall though this was a consistently amusing show and better than I expected from Bailey. Yes, he does still play his troll card quite heavily but the material has expanded into other areas to provide a bit of diversity and stops the show running out of steam in the way Bewilderness did. His presentation is a bit samey but the material is imaginative and engaging and provided quite a few laughs as well as a pretty constant smile. Fans will fall over to watch it of course, but there is enough here for Bailey to win new converts such as myself.
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