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A CurtainUp London London Review
Fame: Not the Musical

"If Kafka was alive today, I like to think he would have retitled The Trial the Day I tried to book a Ryan Air flight. " — David Baddiel
Fame: Not the Musical
David Baddiel
David Baddiel's one man show Fame: Not the Musical is a delight. He looks at the perils of being recognised and in a truly self deprecating way explains how often he is mistaken for Ben Elton. He tells the tale about Andrew Lloyd Webber and his musical The Beautiful Game and how ALW asked for the man off the television who talked about football, Ben Elton. Now we all know that who ALW really wanted was the man off the television who talked about football, David Baddiel, but Ben Elton went on to write the book for The Beautiful Game!

The theme of mistaken celebrity runs through the show with Baddiel's wonderful storytelling and great comic timing. He dwells on the internet trolls, those damaging ignorant people who dominate Twitter and Facebookand gets real comedy out of their inane comments #notgreatisit.

Some of the time he explains about his Jewish upbringing and the orthodox school he went to in North London and then explains how the press use North London or successful businessman as a euphemism for saying Jewish. He returns to these comic rifs and the second and third time round they are even more amusing in their familiarity. Baddiel tells us of his pride when he was voted the 6th most sexy Jewish man only to find that (the less than handsome: my comment) Alan Sugar was Number 5.

He tells tales of his being at a gathering with Ricky Gervais and Madonna where he is the least famous and earning our empathy. He expands on his invitation to Russell Brand's wedding and when straying into the outside paparazzi ridden area he was the only guest photographed at this immensely private wedding. His humour is dry and brings a smile to my face just thinking about his cleverness and his wit. I like too the originality, the ability to develop a theme starting with a quirky observation. He also shares some family stories with us including a talent contest where his daughter singing elicits such emotion that he can't hold the camera still.

There is even a gross case of mistaken identity accusing him of being rude and inconsiderate in the gossip column of a national broadsheet where the paper refuse to recant until he proves it couldn't possibly have been him . This draws our attention to the inaccuracy of some of the stories about the famous. He asks for tweets in the interval and delivers those with initial praise and a withering punchline, like "Wonderful show, well done for selling out the 200 seat venue!" It is the way he says "200 seat venue" that makes us laugh.

The trolls won't love Baddiel but I couldn't ask for a better evening in the theatre. This show has been popping up all over the country since last year so if you can't get to the intimate Menier, there will probably be another opportunity.

Baddiel has a new show, a musical, his first, called The Infidel opening at Stratford East and starring Omid Djalili, based on Baddiel's film of the same name. The Infidel will open on 15 October 2014.

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Fame : Not the Musical
Written and performed by David Baddiel

Running time: One hour 50 minutes with an interval
Box Office: 020 7378 1713
Booking to 23rd May 2014
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 2nd May 2014 performance at The Menier Chocolate Factory, 53 Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU (Rail/Tube: London Bridge)
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