Archive | March, 2012

Live Review: Tony Benn and Roy Bailey

26 Mar

Komedia: Tuesday, March 16, 2012

Tony Benn and Roy Bailey – Komedia

Two flames burn in the breast, quoted Tony Benn; The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope for the future. This theory, according to the long-serving former Labour MP, provides the twin tenets for progress and the vision for change.

It was also the compelling theme for this evening of socialist history, politics and rousing song.

Benn has just about called correctly every big political decision over the past 50 years. From supporting the miners, opposing the single currency, fighting the poll tax and campaigning against the war in Iraq, history is on his side.

But, despite being 86, his speeches here were far from valedictory, rather they were a history lesson spanning 700 years devoted to showing why people must continue to campaign and fight against the prevailing political consensus of the day to improve the lot of future generations.

Benn’s impassioned views were perfectly complimented by the softer, amiable personality of Roy Bailey. The celebrated folk-singer’s presence may be akin to that of a favourite older relative (he’s 76), but as soon as he sings about the struggles of the working classes throughout the ages, he conveys deep compassion for those at the bottom of the pile and, at times, seething condemnation of the powers that be

As powerful, persuasive and downright entertaining as these two ar.e, they are not going to be around for ever and it’s glaringly obvious that there is no-one in the current Labour movement who fosters the level of admiration and support that Benn does.

The present generation of Labour politicians would do well to ditch their grey suits and focus groups, and listen to passion and wisdom of Benn and Bailey before it’s too late.

Comedy Review: Chris Ramsey – Offermation

13 Mar

Komedia: Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chris Ramsey’s second show, Offermation, is a good-natured, hour-long routine about information that is given, but not asked for.

Hooked, albeit very loosely, on three round-robin Christmas letters he received from Bren and Mike – distant relatives he’d never met – Ramsey finds hilarity in the mundane and plenty of belly laughs from these most unlikely of sources.

This is due, in part, to his eye-for-detail material, but largely because of his passionate North-East delivery and ability to veer away from the crux of the set, while somehow always managing to tie his ramblings back to the central theme.

So, in addition to his forensic dissection of the dull letters, we get his views on a host of other issues, such as the latest male fashion trends, “It’s like the Hitler Youth has been dragged through AllSaints”, and the TV show Geordie Shore, “It’s like a close-up on a Petri dish of Chlamydia”.

In a somewhat predictable pay-off, the show ends with Ramsey revealing he made contact with Bren and Mike and had a great evening with them, leading him to glorify offermation, instead of condemning it.

In the hands of someone less charming or talented, this could appear sickeningly saccharine, but with Ramsey you’re pleased it turned out so well.

He is a sure-fire star of the future – catch him in intimate venues like this while you can.

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