Phil Kay

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett


Phil Kay doesn't care. Actually, he does care, a lot in fact, about the things that he considers to be worth bothering about, but the rest he doesn't give a fig about . He has the air of a man having reached 37 who knows what his priorities in life are and that's all that matters. That said, Kay's always been a bit like that.

Seeing Kay is a liberating experience. He doesn't bother with any rules of the stage or grand entrances; Kay casually, yet somehow simultaneously manically, wanders on to the stage and begins chatting while the audience are still taking their seats. The feeling of freedom continues when following a wolf-whistle from the audience he drops his trousers to reveal his penis and cries: 'What's the matter? It's what we all strive for ­ nakedness!'

What follows is a typically shambolic show that he confesses has no structure. He picks up his guitar to strum a impromptu ditty based on how a man in the audience had hurt his wrist falling from a shopping trolley, then as it begins to peter out he reveals he has no plan and despite his exuberance it looks like it could be one of those Kay shows that could falls flat.

However, he reveals he has tales to tell and proceeds to chat breathlessly of his children, his lover and the magical place he lives ­ a remote Scottish village with two pubs and a post office that doubles as an off licence. The setting is enchanting already but even the most ordinary village stories sound like fairy tales in his hands.

The hour flies by but Kay appears not to have a finale so the crowd, like a freshly ditched lover, are reluctant to leave when he remains on the stage telling them it's over.

A woman in the front row reminds him of the two rackets and ball he brought with him and thus she's drawn in to the least competitive and most affable game of tennis ever witnessed. A suitably uplifting finale to possibly the most feelgood show you'll see at the festival.

Marissa Burgess


Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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