Stephen Bailey: Should've Been A Popstar | Review by Helen Ackrill © Steve Ullathorne
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Stephen Bailey: Should've Been A Popstar

Note: This review is from 2015

Review by Helen Ackrill

Watching Stephen Bailey, one can’t help but feel a bit naughty. He lures his audience in with his loveable, ‘cheeky chappie’ routine, shocks them with flamboyant innuendo, and somehow manages to convince them they are the ones with the dirty minds.

Once he gets his observations out of the way about the choice of venue – he likens it to being in either a gay sauna or Hell – he launches into his show about confidence, and how to achieve it. Confidence, he says, is a constant learning process, much like stand-up, and comes from finding your own ‘wow’ factor. A huge amount of that comes from simply being yourself which for Bailey, as a gay youngster growing up on a tough council estate, was easier said than done.

easily with the audience, gossiping with the ladies and flirting with their boyfriends, until he remembers he has a show to do. Often he’ll ask the audience for help to remind him of his place, but it is purely rhetorical – Bailey knows exactly where he is, he just wants to see if the audience are paying attention. The few props he brings to link to his stories, such as his school-leaver’s notebook and a laminated black-belt certificate, feel unnecessary; his delivery is strong enough without them.

Bailey is less in control when it comes to sexually explicit jokes: they are in no way controversial, but there were a couple of moments of audible inhaling when Bailey mentioned what he would do to one straight man he liked the look of in the front row. Those moments passed quickly with an apology, a cheeky smile, and a knowing wink. Other stories about his previous boyfriends and their break-ups aren’t nearly as funny as the ones about his short stint in boot camp in an attempt to get confidence through fitness – his demonstration of what he calls a press-up got a deafening round of applause.

He has a natural charm that allows the audience to forgive him for being crude, or going off on a tangent when telling stories, most of which are about his teenage relationship with his father and their constant warring over caravan holidays and heating bills. If he reigns in his smuttiness he will always have audiences eating out of the palm of his hand.

Review date: 12 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Helen Ackrill
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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