Review: Bill Bailey at The Civic

By Jacqueline Smith

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Bill Bailey. Photo / Supplied
Bill Bailey. Photo / Supplied

Only Bill Bailey could have a theatre roaring with laughter over the Renaissance painting The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.

Bringing to life the depiction of the original doubting Thomas was all part of the English comedian's two-hour show, one themed on his mistrust of the modern world that comes after his last appearance here in 2008.

He also had a good line in similes and metaphors.

Ones which likened the English football team to terrified cabbages, Simon Cowell to a loathsome tick, Jamie Oliver to a fat-tongued gibbon and described James Blunt as a "knuckle-dragging Nickelback fan".

And Bailey also pretty much succeeded in uniting 2000 people in a campaign to plug the BP oil spill with Dan Brown novels.

But really, far from being an angry-eyed, narcissistic rant, his repertoire was educational.

The audience were given the opportunity to examine the lyrics of Akon's Smack That, learn what is so special about barnacles and expand their "txt spk" with a new acronym - ROTFLYSST (rolling on the floor laughing yet still somehow typing).

From playing Nirvana on the Arabic oud to a soaring piece of dance music with the help of an audience member on the Japanese tenori-on and finally, a version of Gary Numan's Cars complete with (car) horn section, the show's musical component also allowed Bailey to exercise his boundless imagination - and get things a little folked up.

Bailey seemed to have as much fun as his audience and persuaded them to stay as they started to file out after three encores and learn the lyrics to La Bamba.

That was surely a tick on the bucket lists of those there on Monday night.

And Bailey's expression upon hearing a chorus of Kiwis sing? That too was a hoot, without a doubt.

- NZ Herald

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