Review: Bill Bailey, Limboland
Once, while we were being shown round a posh hotel for work, a friend made me lose all decorum and laugh until wine came down my nose by whispering, “I live in your eyes,” as we walked past the lounge pianist.
He knew that as a fellow Bill Bailey fan I would remember this was the menacing subliminal message the comedian claimed he used to slip in to relieve the boredom when he had a job playing the piano in a hotel lounge.
It’s the sort of off beat humour I love, so unsurprisingly Bill Bailey has been my favourite comedian since the days when he was “Bill who?” and I caught him on a late night programme doing spoof rock opera Insect Nation (if you’ve never seen it, and you’ve 15 minutes to kill treat yourself here).
I saw him in all manner of small venues over the years before he was famous and though he’s been a telly regular for a while I was still somewhat shocked to find when I booked at the end of the summer for his Brighton gig in December that most of the decent tickets had gone.
That’s why I’m telling you now Hastings and Bexhill peeps that you’d better get your skates on to bag a ticket for his dates this June as there are already only a handful left.
There’s no big theme to Limboland but there is a section on the misguided pursuit of happiness that builds to a hilarious tale of misadventure on a family trip to the Arctic Circle to view the Northern Lights.
Bailey’s a thinking person’s comedian and you always learn something from his gigs from what a mandola sounds like to the actions of a special chemical found in fruit flies’ brains. Last tour there was a comic show-and-tell on the history of art.
There’s certainly always a healthy dash of comic philosophy and in Limboland this includes a lengthy musing on the ridiculousness of phrase ‘all things considered’.
If you’re only familiar with Bailey from panel shows you may not know he’s a seriously good musician and comes on to a stage that looks more like it’s set up for a band.
As he worked his way through a series of key and string instruments at his Brighton gig (including the aforementioned mandola) and riffed partly off audience suggestions, we were treated to a death metal Lady in Red, Happy Birthday in a minor key and a reggae Downtown Abbey mash-up.
He even sound sampled the audience for one piece. Frankly, I wanted the chance to take it home and say: “that’s the track I recorded with Bill Bailey!”
Unlike most comics who are a lot more sweary when they’re off the telly, it’s worth knowing Bailey rarely turns the air blue so if you’re treating teens or parents he’ll spare your blushes. Whatever you do make sure you treat yourself.