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Muddy review: Bill Bailey’s Limboland comes to Cornwall

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My pre-fame-fame-to-claim in a six degrees of Kevin Bacon kinda way is that 100 years ago, (1989/90) The Rubber Bishops had a comedy slot at my dad’s wine bar in Oxfordshire. You might well be asking eh? at this point. Well along with Martin Stubbs, Bill Bailey was the creative brains behind the comedy-musical double act performing hilarious mashups and homages to popular music.

After The Rubber Bishops broke up, and with super comedy stardom still stardust in his eye, Bill even rocked up to dad’s (3rd) (*eyeroll*) wedding and bashed out a few of his oldies (Stairway to Kevin, Sometimes its hard to be a beaver etc). The last time I saw him live though was nearly 10 years ago at the Edinburgh Festival (our schedules clashed), so I was mega disappointed to miss out on tickets for Limboland coming to Hall for Cornwall next week – tickets sold out the nanosecond they went on sale. GRR.

Anyway, fellow superfan Debbie over at Muddy Stilettos Sussex has a) mates who know mates, or b) a secret double life as an organised crime boss, as she got to see Limboland in Brighton in February. I’m so not jealous at all *grits teeth*.

Anyway, lovely Debbie, was kind enough (grr – I’m aware I’m growling rather alot) to share her review:

Bill Bailey has been my favourite comedian since the days when he was “Bill who?” and I caught him on a late night programme doing spoof rock opera Insect Nation (if you’ve never seen it, and you’ve 5 minutes to kill treat yourself here).

I saw him in all manner of small venues over the years before he was famous and though he’s been a telly regular for a while I was still somewhat shocked to find when I booked at the end of the summer for his Brighton gig that most of the decent tickets had gone.

There’s no big theme to Limboland but there is a section on the misguided pursuit of happiness that builds to a hilarious tale of misadventure on a family trip to the Arctic Circle to view the Northern Lights.

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Bailey’s a thinking person’s comedian and you always learn something from his gigs from what a mandola sounds like to the actions of a special chemical found in fruit flies’ brains. Last tour there was a comic show-and-tell on the history of art.

There’s certainly always a healthy dash of comic philosophy and in Limboland this includes a lengthy musing on the ridiculousness of phrase ‘all things considered’.

If you’re only familiar with Bailey from panel shows you may not know he’s a seriously good musician and comes on to a stage that looks more like it’s set up for a band.

As he worked his way through a series of key and string instruments at his Brighton gig (including the aforementioned mandola) and riffed partly off audience suggestions, we were treated to a death metal Lady in Red, Happy Birthday in a minor key and a reggae Downtown Abbey mash-up.

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He even sound sampled the audience for one piece. Frankly, I wanted the chance to take it home and say: “that’s the track I recorded with Bill Bailey!”

Unlike most comics who are a lot more sweary when they’re off the telly, it’s worth knowing Bailey rarely turns the air blue so if you’re treating teens or parents he’ll spare your blushes. Whatever you do make sure you treat yourself.

Fri 10 – Sat 11 Jun Hall for Cornwall, Back Quay, Truro TR1 2LL

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