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Lee Evans: Big Tour 2008

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O2 Arena
Millennium Way, SE10 0PH

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Description: The star of stage and screen returns to live stand-up.


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Lee Evans sticks to a winning formula

By Bruce Dessau 07.10.08
 
Lee Evans

Contortionist: Comedian Lee Evans gave the audience at the O2 a classic routine, with well-thumbed topics and his usual Chaplinesque waddling

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Can 80,000 Lee Evans fans be wrong?

The compact Essex clown has just completed four sold-out shows with one more to come, shattering the previous comedy record of two shows set by Chris Rock this year.

Making 16,000 fans a night giggle takes some beating.

It is a shame that at times yesterday the laughs were dwarfed by the scale of the event.

The trouble is that to be this popular one inevitably succumbs to lowest common denominator syndrome.

Evans is the Oasis of stand-up. Huge but rarely groundbreaking.

Thus we get well-thumbed topics — sport,road rage, nagging wives, adverts, phones.

His observation about razors having ridiculous names such as Turbo and Stealth was also made to me by a Broadstairs chemist on Sunday.

Although, unlike Evans, he did not run around like a demented chimp as he said it.

It was the physicality that saved the day. A blind acquaintance recently remarked that he used to love this people’s champion until he lost his
sight and realised that minus the comic contortions and Chaplinesque waddling the gags were pedestrian.

With body and mouth in synch though, there were still some fine moments, such as when he wondered why it is easier to don a coat alone than when someone is helping and then demonstrated the scenario.

Evans bobbed and weaved like a prizefighter
and sweated by the bucketload, but truly knockout punchlines were few and far between.

Topical material extended little beyond a line about Northern Rock and a diatribe against hospitals, which are so plagued by superbugs that “Mrs Mopp is in charge now”.

A joke about being unable to remove CD wrappers felt threadbare in this download age.

It was a reminder that Evans, with his riffs about being henpecked and his sincere “now this is me” musical encore, is strangely old school.

Then again, when he did try something different, such as his quickfire portrait of a relationship from speed date to divorce, he received only polite applause.

The audience wanted new hits that sounded like the old hits or just the old hits.

Evans eventually gave them what they wanted, closing with his much-loved Bohemian Rhapsody mime.

A classic routine in every sense, shame the fresh material could not match it.

 
 

Read the latest reviews from Bruce Dessau in the Evening Standard

 

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Here's a sample of the latest reviews published. You can click view all to read all reviews that readers have sent in.

I have to agree with Katie. I went to the O2 on Friday night and it was amazing. I was laughing all night. His material is so funny as everyone can relate to it. His energy on stage is unbelievable. He engages the crowd and thats why he is so popular. I will forever be an avid fan.

- Rachel Layzell, Essex, Colchester, Essex

I went along to the o2 Arena on 6th October to see Lee and I have to say his routines never get old. I can easily watch his DVDs over and over without getting bored and yesterday has to have been the best tour I have ever seen - I would pay good money to go and see the same material again! The classic jokes are often the best, and his physicality only extends his ability to throw the crowd into fits of laughter (as it was said, 16,000 can't be wrong). For him to have sold out all 4 shows proves that thousands of people are loyal and will love him for years to come! This type of comedy is popular with so many and I had nothing but fun last night.

- Katie Hayes, Chatham, Kent, England

Not sure whether you were at the same gig Bruce! One of the best all round comedy performances that I have ever seen and given the size of the venue it was pretty spectacular.

- Richard Maile, Kent


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