There are some brilliant set-pieces in this latest show from stand-up musician Bill Bailey, so much so that reprises are demanded in the encore.
Bill Bailey - Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow
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With highlights including a Jewish folk interpretation of the Match of the Day theme and Metallica’s Enter Sandman played on car horns, it’s an eclectic, mischievous melange of tuneful daftness, existential anxiety and righteous anger aimed at politicians, celebrity and the Church.
His character assassinations of Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are especially memorable, employing surreal but delightfully apt imagery. However, the cognitive dissonance sparked in his feverish brain by former Big Brother contestant Chantelle Houghton promises a deeper, more thematically robust show.
Touching on the work of such creative giants as Mozart, JMW Turner and will.i.am as he does, Qualmpeddler captures only a vague, unfocused malaise on Bailey’s part. One moment he’s bemoaning the inane acronyms of text speak, another he’s musing on the similarities of Danish and mumbled English, prompted by the horror of discovering a shared love of crime drama The Killing with David Cameron. There’s plenty to enchant, including a lovely account of releasing an owl from a restaurant in China. But this two-hour performance feels somewhat bitty.
Regardless, whenever he picks up an instrument – and the more obscure the better – Bailey’s puckish wit and dizzying virtuosity guarantees routines that other comics simply can’t match.