Bill Bailey, En Route To Normal, TotalNtertainment, Tour, Leeds

Bill Bailey – En Route to Normal live review

Bill Bailey is en route to normal and there couldn’t be a better way to head into 2022

Bill Bailey is en route to normal and there couldn’t be a better way to head into a year that looks like it will be far from normal than in the company of the quirky funnyman and former Strictly winner.

For almost 2 hours the comedy favourite puts on a joyously surreal show of entertaining tales and mind blowing musical arrangements. Now, given the current situation, it would be hard for any comic not to bring up the pandemic and Bill Bailey is no different. Thankfully, aside from his thoughts on the current Government, a witty comment about the room looking more like a dentistry convention than a comedy show and the use of brilliant a “Boris Randomizer Button”, Bailey makes sure his time on stage takes everyone away from the current chaos.

Split into two acts, the first half sees the Black Books star recalling his problems with live streams, how he lied to the Queen, Google reviews of Poundland stores and a road trip across America with his family. As awkward as they are hysterical, Bailey reveals how this awkwardness with using modern technology resulted in a disastrous Livestream, before treating everyone to a bizarre anecdote about family life played out to a heavy metal soundtrack. Perfectly delivered and utterly surreal it leaves you in no doubt that life with the comedian is far from dull.

Aside from comedy, music plays a huge part in Bailey’s life and, unsurprisingly, plays a huge part in his live show. From Opera to Mozart to heavy metal, it seems like there isn’t a style of music the funnyman hasn’t mastered and, as the first half plays out to a soundtrack of songs like “Ace of Spades” and “Smack My Bitch Up” reworked into ragtime, he departs having got the entire venue rocking.

Following a swift change of footwear, the second half kicks off with the comic revealing how difficult life being famous is as he recalls upsetting Gwyneth Paltrow as well as giving his thoughts on reality TV and his desire for a Victorian version of Love Island.

As in the first half, music takes up a big chunk of the second half of the show. Recalling an awkward meeting with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Bailey takes the rock giants to task again this time giving one of their hits a Turkish makeover. It’s something you feel only Bill Bailey could pull off and, elsewhere, his musical “Last of the East End Sherpas” and his French Eurovision Song Contest Entry will only confirm your thoughts that this is a man who is as much a musical genius as he is a comedy one.

To huge cheers, Bailey wheels out his infamous bells and horns ensemble for a brilliant rendition of the legendary Swan Lake before the night finishes with a venue-shaking horned-up version of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. As he exits stage right, we all head into 2022 knowing that it will be far from normal. With this unknown future ahead of us one thing is for certain and that is if we’re given a choice of being led into the New Year by Bumbling Boris or the self-confessed “Tesco Value Voldemort”, the eight thousand or so fans leaving the Arena are in no doubt who they would vote for.

You can find a full list of dates and tickets here