Stephen Bailey: Neon Heart | Review by Graeme Connelly
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Stephen Bailey: Neon Heart

Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Graeme Connelly

Stephen Bailey dominates the stage in the least domineering fashion. Almost as if he's asking if it's OK if he stands here, while not actually caring what the response is.

Instantly likeable, Bailey is on the more flamboyant end of the camp spectrum, more than capable of being funny without even delivering a gag. 'I love girls!' he exclaims exclaims excitedly in response to the teenage girls who squeal their delight when he hops on stage, wearing more glitter and sequins than the first two rows combined.

He is more than excitable. His facial expressions and mannerisms say what he wants much more effectively than his words. Indeed, he didn’t deliver many jokes and the ones he threw out were lacklustre. But the crowd didn’t really care, as it's the way he sets them up that's funny.

When a gag didn't land with the oomph that perhaps he was expecting, Bailey reeled for no more than an instant and recovered by going 'off script' and delivering fantastic bite-sized anecdotes about his various relationships – with his father, his ex-boyfriends, with himself.

It was these little gems that made the performance memorable, presented in such a believable and natural off-the-cuff manner that was warming and touching. It was obvious that the stories meant something to him, more than just material for a gig.

Bailey opens up to his audience, creating a strong rapport. Everyone in the room must have felt involved, but he was always the centre of attention. It’s easy to imagine he always is, considering he was wearing a silver dickie bow and a suit woven from space age material.

It feels Bailey would find it difficult to go an hour without some smutty gay jokes and there are, indeed, a handful. He did well to avoid them becoming the norm, however, reminding himself that it was 4pm and he didn't want to embarrass those teenage girls in the crowd. Bailey keeps it clean(ish), and finished with a circus-style finale that garnered huge cheers and loud applause, reflecting the adoration he'd built up.

Review date: 2 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Graeme Connelly
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Teviot

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