Review: Russell Brand’s election night show in Ipswich was something very special

Comedian Russell Brand brought his new tour to the Ipswich Regent. Photo: Matt Crockett Photography

Comedian Russell Brand brought his new tour to the Ipswich Regent. Photo: Matt Crockett Photography - Credit: Archant

An evening with Russell Brand is always going to be unpredictable, provocative and outrageous but combine it with the febrile atmosphere of an election day and you’ve got a recipe for something very special and a little bit naughty – and on Thursday night Russell didn’t disappoint.

Ostensibly the show, at the Ipswich Regent, was all about how he’s changed and mellowed – how he sees the world differently now he’s a new father – hence the title ‘Re:Birth’.

However the same themes still preoccupy him: consumerism, the media, politics and of course himself and his libido.

And it’s the last two that provided some of the biggest laughs of the night.

The beauty of Russell Brand’s confessional style is that he’s not afraid to reflect on and dissect the ridiculousness of things he’s said and done in the past.

He brilliantly analysed his infamous 2013 political interview with Jeremy Paxman and self-deprecatingly highlighted the problems of being both a celebrity and a political activist.

It’s clear he’s loved by a large proportion of the sell-out crowd and as he walked amongst the audience he was bear-hugged and picked up by a man called Paul, discovered his ‘lost son’ in Connor and felt he’d come second in a Jesus lookalike contest!

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He wasn’t afraid to get the audience involved in the whole show – in fact he stayed on stage during the interval to speak with them directly.

Throughout the show the language Russell uses was often explicit but never seemed shocking as it was always accompanied with warmth, humour and a genuine love of humanity.

He closed the show with a profound, hilarious and scatological description of the birth of his daughter (which included inspired references to Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel) that spared little detail and was not for the faint-hearted.

At the beginning of the show Russell said that one of his mantras is to ‘be as much of yourself as it’s possible to be’ and there’s no doubt he achieved that last night and in the process made us think, gasp, and laugh – a lot.

The Smith’s ‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’ played over the PA as Russell stayed to pose for selfies – surely no coincidence?

Mike Rawden