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Review: Bill Bailey, Ipswich Regent, Friday, June 17

PUBLISHED: 09:57 18 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:57 18 June 2016

Bill Bailey

ES 18.1.13

Bill Bailey ES 18.1.13

Archant

It was an evening of belly-laughs and aching faces from smiling so much as Bill Bailey brought his Limboland tour to the Ipswich Regent.

Comedian Bill BaileyComedian Bill Bailey

The eclectic performer treated the Friday night faithful to a mix of life observations, original songs, poetry and covers.

Opening with the “fourth largest urban area in the East of England” line in his greeting to Ipswich, it was instantly clear that not only had he thought about how to personalise the show for the evening’s audience, but performing with a wry smile and a few pot shots at the town went down very well.

It’s easy for touring comedians to replicate the same show from venue to venue, but with Bailey the improvisation and off-the-cuff reactions to audience nuances are where he excels best.

From making a latecomer finding their seat into a 10-minute gag and inviting audience members to suggest famous songs for his death metal restyling (Lady in Red and the Sound of Music were particularly good), Bailey’s audience interaction was sublime.

Other highlights of the night included his observations on the strained optimism of the British public which fails to stretch further than “not too bad, all things considered” when asked how they are, and a song penned for Adele called ‘You left me, but I’m not going to go on about it.’

Audience members who have seen his more recent appearances on 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown may recognise a few of the gags such as his innovative poetry inspired by the football 4-4-2 formation and readings from a book of dialogues, but in expanded form the readings still work a treat.

So how was Bailey’s return to the fourth largest urban area in the East of England? Not too bad, all things considered.

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