I fell out with Russell Brand for a while. When he started going on his political mission, telling people not to vote, getting involved with things he wasn’t very well versed on more out of his own vanity than genuine care, I felt…
…But then he walked out on to the stage. I got goose bumps; the man is a bit of a legend in his own right. From Big Brother’s Big Mouth, through to Get Him to the Greek, he’s not changed, but maybe grown up a bit. This tour, RE: Birth, is partly about that growing up, brought on by the birth of his daughter, Mabel. It’s also partly to do with how there’s too much pressure in society to conform, from birth, and a consequent stress we put upon ourselves where we shouldn’t. That’s my excuse for this review being three weeks late, Russell Brand told me it was OK..
The show was split in to two halves, with the interval being an opportunity for the audience to get up close and personal with a photo; I chose not to, though, I wanted a pint. However, that took twice as long to do due to fighting against the tide of people heading to the stage to meet our Russ. I’m adding this because this is my only real criticism of the evening, and quite a selfish one at that. The first half was introduced with sound bites, TV clips, and news articles slamming Russell, interspersed with images and medical information on child birth (he does also later get quite graphic about what happens down there during the event). Turning the lights on in the auditorium, he puts the attention on us, reading out embarrassing stories he had asked audience members to share with him via an online questionnaire; the woman sat with her mother was priceless.
Russell really stole my heart again when he went on to take the mick out of himself for everything that had started to make me fall out with him in the first place. Dissecting, second by second, his rant outside No.10 to a journalist about the New Era Rent row. The same with his interview with Paxman. Turning up to a NHS hospital with his own private midwife. Visiting someone living below the breadline, mentioning he was a bit hungry, and leaving with a bag (yeah, a bag) of soup in his chauffer driven limo.
There was usual Russell Brand debauchery; dogs on drugs, a conversation with his microphone stand, him on drugs, sticky confetti sharing, drugs meeting up for a party in his body, drugs he’s disappointed he’s not been able to sample since he went clean, and, of course, himself.
It was a fantastically filled night of fun and frolics, focused fundamentally on his foray through fatherhood, and the fascinating fables featured, whether they be fact of fantasy. And there were free Hare Krishna cookies for everyone.
Review by Johnny Banks