En Route to Normal
Regent on Broadway
Reviewed by Roger Buchanan
The wealth of acts coming up over the next few months at the Regent belies the sorry state of entertainment around the world: Sol3 Mio, NZSO, Madagascar the Musical, RNZ Ballet, Ben Elton, The Pink Floyd Experience, to name but a few.
As Bill Bailey remarked several times in his sell out show: "Where else in the world would this be happening?"
Bailey planted the credit for this firmly at Jacinda Ardern's doorstep: "Every country needs a Jacinda." While that was met with muted affirmation his description of his own prime minister, Boris Johnson, as a "toxic hay bale" seemed to draw an overwhelming consensus.
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Bailey kept the audience entertained by himself for a full two hours (interval notwithstanding) with his quirky mix of stand-up comedy and musical prowess.
Where most stand-up comedians run to a carefully scripted format, Bailey relied on his genius to take you on a hilarious off-the-cuff ride between his set pieces.
One of the most gifted all-round entertainers of his generation, his musical creations ranged from a 'Concerto for Two iPhones', through his rendition of 'Old Macdonald Had a Farm' in the style of Tom Waits, to 'You Are My Sunshine' hilariously reimagined in a minor key and in German.
Equally at home on keyboards as he is on acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele and the like, Bailey is as much a multi-talented musician and singer as he is a comedian.
With his ability to shape his monologue in response to quips or answers from the audience and to punctuate his delivery with clever original music, an evening with Bill Bailey is a truly unique and uplifting experience.
With four capacity houses in one week and probably at least one more on the way, Regent on Broadway's books will be looking much healthier than those of its sister venues in other parts of the globe. Way to go New Zealand!