Edinburgh Fringe 2000 (59)
Edinburgh Fringe 2001 (316)
Edinburgh Fringe 2002 (354)
Edinburgh Fringe 2003 (376)
Edinburgh Fringe 2004 (422)
Edinburgh Fringe 2005 (415)
Edinburgh Fringe 2006 (547)
Edinburgh Fringe 2007 (668)
Edinburgh Fringe 2008 (733)
Edinburgh Fringe 2009 (773)
Edinburgh Fringe 2010 (927)
Edinburgh Fringe 2011 (963)
Edinburgh Fringe 2012 (1022)
Edinburgh Fringe 2013 (740)
Melbourne 2005 (26)
Melbourne 2006 (29)
Melbourne 2007 (31)
Melbourne 2008 (36)
Melbourne 2009 (36)
Melbourne 2010 (56)
Melbourne 2011 (36)
Melbourne 2012 (46)
Melbourne 2013 (57)
Misc live shows (204)
Montreal 2004 (6)
Montreal 2006 (10)
Montreal 2007 (15)
Montreal 2008 (17)
Montreal 2009 (17)
Tour (240)West End run (14)
See Less »
Barry Humphries: Eat, Pray, Laugh
Barry Humphries: Last Night Of The Poms
Best of Leicester Comedy Festival Tour 2009
Bill Bailey Live 2010 Tour
Bill Bailey: Bewilderness
Bill Bailey: Dandelion Mind
Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler
Bill Bailey: Tinselworm
Boothby Graffoe: Is This Your Vehicle Sir?
Boothby Graffoe: Nomad. No Sane Either...
Bottom 2001: An Arse Oddity
Bottom 5: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts
Brendon Burns Under Educated tour
Bill Bailey: Tinselworm
Three years after Part Troll, Bill Bailey returns to the stand-up world with a new show, which is bigger, shinier, yet darker and more personal than before, with a gong and everything.
Worms, delusion, God, mumbling, the Creation vs. Science Ding-Dong, jazz singers, tattoos, the majesty of Emo, the music of nature, gaps, plus the usual travellers tales, anecdotes, memories and the alternate reality that is Bill’S world, spun together with sparkling thread such as you might derive from a Christmas based invertebrate...
Is it a worm? Or a metaphor? Is it in fact a hybrid worm, so favoured by celebrities? Or is it more sinister, a GM worm, a freak of nature? Too cheap for silk, too proud for earth... The Tinselworm is a mid-level worm that dares to dream.
Original Review:Review from London's Gielgud Theatre, November 2008:
So while the stage of the Gielgud Theatre is littered with the tools of his trade, from the essential keyboard to an Iranian oud, it’s also carpeted, with a comfy, battered leather armchair in one corner. The message is clear: Bailey’s here to make you feel at home, rather than impress with the spectacle of a mammoth gig.
His warmth – so all-enveloping that he can even make reference to the Baby P case without sparking offence – makes this an unrelentingly entertaining show. What it lacks in comic intensity it make up for in the feelgood factor, so vital in such straightened times.
The show’s been substantially rejigged on the road, too, with whole new sections added and a lot of material left by the wayside, though the logic of what stayed and what went is fuzzy. A few remaining segments appear a little dog-eared after so many months – none more so than the few last snipes at George Bush – while strong routines such as his impressive anti-Asda, anti-corporate rant have been sacrificed.
But what’s left is a enjoyably relaxed stroll through things that get Bailey’s goat, delivered so naturally it almost doesn’t feel like a gig at all, just a couple of hours in the company of an entertaining, avuncular stranger who also just happens to like showing off his musical genius in brief, funny snatches.
His Emo parody, especially, is inspired, and he even manages to elevate James Blunt insults into an art form, thanks to his pin-sharp spoof. Everything from the Killers lyrics to East European national anthems are given the benefit of his ridiculous treatment, but, musically, he’s never better than when making brilliant juxtapositions in unlikely mash-ups: The Star Wars Imperial Death March as a scat-jazz riff, the Dad’s Army theme funked up with a dance baseline or the philosophies of Emmanuel Kant set to the Match Of The Day theme. All rather silly, and all rather fun.
But alongside the ridiculous, more serious points are hinted at, from Swiss banks’ complicity in hoarding Nazi gold, to the advance of fairytale-believing creationists and the language politicians use to dismiss valid debate. It’s all treated with the lightest of touches, however. Sometimes his incisive political satire extends no further than morphing Margaret Thatcher’s face on the computer.
The clash of the highbrow and the stupid might seem unlikely, but is true to Bailey’s view that since the whole world is full of idiocies, he might as well join in, employing his wonderfully idiosyncratic use of English whenever he can. Who else could describe the humble barnacle as ‘an ossified pixie volcano of despair’.
Occasionally his more flighty routines run the risk of losing focus, but he quickly brings it in check: even in a stream of surrealism such as his imagining what a hash London will make of the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, there’s a method to his madness.
Since he’s been touring this for a while, Bailey now appears thoroughly at ease with his eclectic material, and so makes the audience feel equally comfortable, and therefore receptive to his wistfully amusing banter. Happiness, then, is more-or-less guaranteed.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Review from Glasgow, November 2007:
If it’s true that most stand-ups would really rather be rock stars, then it’s no surprise that every properly successful act since Newman & Baddiel’s day have wanted a bash at the arena show. Never mind that comedy loses its crucial intimacy once you start measuring your audience in thousands rather than hundreds – just feel the sense of occasion.
Bill Bailey’s more rock and roll than most, though. Not through ego, of which he remains charmingly bereft, but through musicianship. When you’ve got a stage cluttered with instruments, including J Arthur Rank-style gong, you’re already halfway to that rock spectacular.
So when he lets rip with the big production numbers with full-on light show and imposing graphics on the big screen behind him, he’s making perfect use of the cavernous space. The powerful chords of Asda I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Bitch or the anguished emo-inspired spoof Blood On The Panini blast through the arena, while his George Bush mash-ups (think a 21st century version of Paul Hardcastle’s 19), Immanuel Kant philosophies explained to the Match Of The Day theme or alternative Seventies sitcom soundtrack to Terminator 3 all benefit from the added scale.
Even those who are not fans of musical comedy, of which there are legion, would have to concede that this rocks. It’s actually rather a shame that he shows restraint in his use of these big numbers, as they really get the mood going.
But alongside these dramatic moments, Bailey also manages to make the vast belly of Glasgow’s SECC armadillo surprisingly intimate. This might be an immense gig – and the venues are only going to get bigger as the tour progresses - but it still seems rather small. Hell, he even has to do his own off-stage introduction.
Even though the giant screens are no substitute for being able to see the whites of his twinkly, bug eyes – and actually prove a distraction as you inevitably wind up watching the video feed, not him – he appears as friendly and approachable as he would in a venue a tenth the size. A little too approachable, perhaps, if the number of heckles is anything to go by. Happily, though, they tend to be nothing too confrontational, but surreal interjections that set the already ill-disciplined Bailey off on various tangents.
But behind Bailey’s bumbling bumpkin persona lurks an unexpected anger, that gives some of his routines added bite. There’s a barely-contained passion behind his rants about overpaid soccer players, the soporific vacuity of Friends, or the corporate greed of the aforementioned Asda. These provide some of the best bits in a show that’s full of them.
Of course, his scatterbrain approach still wins through, flitting whimsically from one unlikely subject to the next. How many other comics would do routines about the CERN particle accelerator, the Third Reich’s economy minister and Ben Affleck all in the same show – and ensure that each of them is funny rather than simply random mentions in some limp stab at surrealism? Yet for all the eclectic, esoteric subject matter, the main thing you’ll take away from Tinselworm is the inability to hear the Killers’ refrain: ‘I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier’ with a straight face again.
In a fragmented two-hour-plus show, there are inevitable lulls, especially Bailey’s postmodern attempts to interact with the giant screens, which must have seemed much better on paper than they are in the execution. And some segments seem underpowered, even for a comic who’s made a virtue of spaced-out confusion.
There are, however, more than enough wonderfully offbeat moments of fine comedy to compensate for this – even if a bit more pizzazz wouldn’t go amiss. That’s never more true than in the larky, loose finale, in which he plays a quietly sweet short film, then scoots about the stage on a customised Segway, before reprising his bitter love song (including the impeccable line ‘soaking in the hoisin of your lies’) from 2004’s Part Troll.
This just doesn’t seem the big showbiz finish a gig of this size deserves, especially after some of the impressive segments that precede it. Go on, Bill, unleash your inner rock god…
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
As a true die-hard Bill Bailey fan I was thrilled to see him live, in fact I'd defend him to the death with a sharpened pitta bread. And I very much agree with Adrian that the site reviewer very much sums the show up. I loved ALL the material but there was the odd lull which is to be expected. Though, with Helen's comment, if I may be so bold, comparing Bill Bailey to Ross Noble is a bit like comparing Charmin ultra soft tissue with Bounty kitchen roll; Both brilliant at what they do, but both have a very different intention and aim. However, that said I did LOVE Tinselworm
Utterly unbelievable - true comic genius. would strongly disagree with Dave about his previously played 'Love Ballad' being the funniest part of the show- untrue. Also the fact that everyone wanted to hear it speaks volumes - it's 3 minutes and its amazing - so clearly not a bad thing. true comic gold - NAZI GOLD
If you want to know what you're going to get, read the review which is spot on in my opinion. I loved it - and in Brighton I had the benefit of the big finish your reviewer didn't get. Backed up by a twelve piece Indian group (sorry can't remember the name) leaving us with Duelling Sitars and an incredible rendition of Radiohead's Creep. Outstanding !
That's another comedian to strike off the "got to see" list - and I'm glad I did. He merged his music, comedy and visual effects wonderfully (I knew he was a good musician, but not that good), and kept the audience in stitches throughout. Not sure which show Dave saw, but I think 2hrs 10 for a stand up is very good. The lack of swearing was refreshing and made the show stand out from other comics.
A bit of a disappointment really. Not up to his previous shows and I got the impression that he was just coasting through the whole thing. The fact that the funniest thing in the performance was his encore song from a previous tour speaks volumes. Still pretty funny but felt more like a £10 fringe show rather than a £25 arena gig. Pretty short as well for such a major name. Och well, loved the Killers bit...!
Helen seems to have missed the point of trying out new material at the fringe before talking it on the road... Fantastic show, loved it even from the back of the MEN Area.
Sorry but I was really disappointed with this. Some 80 per cent of it was material I'd seen in Edinburgh 2006 in a show called Steampunk. It's really not on to give a tour a different name but use the same material - fair enough if it had been called Steampunk, I'd have known what to expect, but it struck me as a bit cheeky, especially for £25. In addition, I just didn't think it was that funny. He tries to do the surreal whimsical thing but falls really short when you compare it to people like Ross Noble.
Tinselworm is Bill's finest show yet.
A true genius. In the nearly two hours of comedy I don't think he swore once (apart from the hilarious "Hey Asda! I ain't gonna be your bitch!" routine), proving that a great comedian doesn't need to do this if it isn't required.
Flugel! Badgeriffic and quacktastic!
Bill Bailey: Bewilderness
Bill Bailey: Dandelion Mind
Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler
Bill Bailey: Steampunk
Bill Bailey: Part Troll
Twelve Angry Men
A Seriously Funny Attempt To Get The SFO in The Dock
Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra
Bill Bailey: Tinselworm [Fringe 2008]