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A CurtainUp London Review
He'll roll his eyes in imitation of a chameleon and tell us about the chameleon sat next to the television programme Ibiza Uncovered, about the clubbing generation at play on the Greek island, and tell us that the chameleon turns Burberry, that distinctive check of the designer label worn by the young clubbers. What he does is to conjure an image which satirises the almost uniform penchant for Burberry and creates in your mind a ridiculous looking checked reptile. He'll take a heckle from the audience and develop the humour repeating it at improvised intervals, each time its repetition making us laugh. He describes the night that the late Eric Douglas, the stand up comedian son of the more famous Kirk, threatened to leave his unreceptive audience which prompted a spontaneous rising of members of the audience each saying "I am Eric Douglas!" in a brilliant parody of the scene from the movie Spartacus.
Bailey's humour is imaginative, original and totally fresh. Interspersed are reminders that he is a classically trained musician as he plays everything from Country and Western on the Persian oud to a rack of car horns to accompany a film of his classic Citroen DS, bought when the ash cloud stranded him in Europe. We see a bizarre film of his peering into the scanning machine at his local supermarket as he tries to work out what goes on underneath the glass screen.
The set is a series of projected rotating fans a visual link to the dandelion clocks also projected at the beginning of the show. An inventive stream on Doubting Thomas has Bailey imaginatively commenting on some of the classical paintings of Thomas feeling the wound of Christ. These slides and filmed sequences inject variety into this one man show.
With George Bush out of power and no longer a target for Bailey's wit, he observes the language of the Obama speech writers, as "uplifting but vague" for example "the audacity of hope" he satirises. The England football team and Wayne Rooney come in for some comic criticism after the disgraceful showing in the World Cup which disappointed the nation. It is the juxtaposition of ideas from which the wit derives that we really enjoy, the use of language, the simplicity of the statement, for example, "Thank God for Darwin" that conjures up the mirthful conundrum of a conflict of belief.
Dandelion Mind is the perfect feel good night, the antidote to winter depression during these dark days of recession and talk of the double dip. If you can't get to the show and even if you can, see the talented Bill Bailey perform on the DVD of the show Dandelion Mind filmed at the O2 in Dublin, to be released on 22nd November on the Universal label which has the complete show and many bonus encores and more besides.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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