Bill Bailey – Larks in Transit

Visit the Wyndham Theatre this December to see the Black Books comedian at the top of his game in his new show Larks in Transit. Peter Gray reports.

Bill Bailey - one of the kings of stand up comedy in London

If you are looking for great stand up comedy in London, then this new show by Bill Bailey could be the one for you. The Black Books and Never Mind the Buzzcocks star will be bringing his typically surreal brand of humour to the capital for a string of West End shows in December. Larks in Transit was inspired by the comedian’s adventures making wildlife documentaries.

What this translates to in reality is Bailey standing in front of a large map firing through winningly quirky anecdotes about such far flung places as Brazil, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Elsewhere there is the usual mix of seemingly random and very obscure topics – this show includes set pieces about falconry, the Battle of Maldon (991AD) and Brexit.

No Bill Bailey gig is complete without music however and the comedian delights his legion of fans with a smattering of songs. Tom Waites version of Old Macdonald Had A Farm is a particular delight. There’s more music in the encore too with Bailey at one point playing an entire classic-rock medley on the bells.

The comedian is best known for his tv work including his role much loved role as Manny in Black Books. The show was a massive critical winning a number of awards including two BAFTAS. Black Books told the story of misanthropic book shop owner Bernard Black and his assistant Manny. Bernard seems to dislike everything except reading, drinking and smoking and he takes a particular dislike to anyone who has the temerity to enter his little Bloomsbury bookshop. The show debuted in 2000 and three seasons followed.
Bailey has also had significant roles in Never Mind the Buzzcocks, QI and Have I Got News for You. The comedian was listed as one of the 50 funniest people in British Comedy in a poll by the Observer in 2003 and in a 2010 Channel 4 TV list of the 100 Greatest Stand-up comedians, Bailey came seventh.

Before his TV success Bailey was a regular on the live comedy circuit in London, regularly playing at the big venues such as The Comedy Store, Jongleurs and the Camden Head.  Indeed for a quite a while the comedian was considered one of the kings of stand up comedy in London, with a large, dedicated following. Now, flushed by his TV success Bailey is back on the stage and the London comedy scene is certainly richer for it.

Bill Bailey’s Larks in Transit will be at the London’s Wyndham’s Theatre from the 3rd December 2018 until the 5th January 2019.

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