“Stuart ‘man of the people’ Lee is nothing but a fringe alternative comedy act who wouldn’t stand a chance at a real comedy club like Jongleurs.” Karen Laidlaw, Edfringe. com. (more reviews here)
When reviewing a gig it’s always a good idea to go to the last show of the tour. So that’s what I did. This review is therefore useless to anyone planing on going to see the gig, as you can’t. It’s your own fault. I’ve gone on about how great Stewart Lee is before. See? I’m not lying!
I had tickets for the gig 5 months ago, so it’s not my fault. The gig was postponed for personal reasons. Stewart Lee’s, not mine.
Kevin Eldon opened up the gig, with a tight twenty minutes of poetry. I’d seen him in Big Train, Brass Eye, Black Books, other programs beginning with B, and, you know, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, before, but never knew he did stand up. But stand up he does, and very well. He did it as his character from Fist of Fun, Islington poet Paul Hamilton. He is just on the right side of sinister, and very funny.
Then Stewart Lee took to the stage. The act was split into two distinct halves, punctuated cleverly by an interval, and marked by the presence of a guitar in the second half.
What was unusual for Stewart Lee is that the two halves were actually separate. As in they could both be seen in isolation from each other, and you wouldn’t miss anything. This is probably to do with the new series of Comedy Vehicle that he filmed last month, which will be a series of 6 half hour self contained sets. It’s an unusual departure for him in the full 90 minute set format, but the show didn’t suffer for it.
Another difference I saw was that he seemed to be more relaxed than usual. He is a very measured performer, he knows exactly what he’s going to say and when, but this time, while retaining the same usual cadence, and structure, also had a different flow. This could well be down to the fact that it’s now right at the end of the run of this show, and the TV series is taped and done. At one point in the show he said, something along the lines of “this is clearly material that is ready to be discarded”. So, maybe it was the end of the run, the pressure being off with the TV taping done, the familiarity of the material. Possibly it’s because it’s a larger venue that I’ve ever seen him perform before, on TV or live, a chance in his personal style, or the addition of that guitar.
My recommendation, make a time machine, go back a month or two to when he was still touring, and see it. If you are really fast there’s about 3 dates left to go. 5 star, aces 10+.
With the new TV series coming up, I’m not sure if there’s going to be a DVD of this tour. But just in case and he’s undecided and happens to read this. Yes please. I’ll have it on pre-order just as soon as you let me.
P.s. St Davids Hall lighting people
Some audience members were distracting, but not as much as the lighting that made it look like Stew had green eyeshadow
It made him look a little like Ming the Merciless on casual clothes friday.