REVIEW: Stewart Lee

Salisbury Journal: Stewart Lee Stewart Lee

STEWART LEE, PAVILION THEATRE, BOURNEMOUTH

ESSENTIALLY Stewart Lee has been trialling his material since the Edinburgh Fringe last August, ahead of recordings for the new series of his BBC show Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle in a Much A-Stew about Nothing. His trademark rhythms of constant repetition and comic genius were played out in three sets, producing laughs bordering on hysteria on the last night of his latest tour at Bournemouth’s Pavilion Theatre.

But first, as always, it was we, his audience, who were at the frontline of his faux-contempt.

He told us he wasn’t going to bother warming us up and several times told us to use our imaginations and our brains to “work with him”.

We lapped it up like mewling kittens.

Lee’s targets for his rapier wit and esoteric storytelling included a racist cabbie, Michael McIntyre and an isolationist comment made by Paul Nuttall of UKIP. Lee took his pitch to surreal lengths, extending Nuttall's remarks to the Huguenots of medieval France, the Anglo- Saxons, the Neolithics, the first fish to ever make it on to land and then nothingness itself.

He used the same technique as he recounted the time he was in a cab, when the cabbie turned around and said: “If you say you are English these days, you get arrested and thrown in prison.”

The beauty of Lee is that while he delivers eviscerating contempt for others, with a rapidfire range of observational comedy, he also takes a withering look at himself, as he described himself as a 45-year-old, impotent, functioning alcoholic father of two.

He mocked himself through the eyes of his wife, who referred to him once walking through Hackney as an “old Serbian war lord look-alike”.

At moments throughout the show, the audience had tears rolling down their cheeks.

Stewart Lee was hilarious. Crush.

KAREN BATE

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