1 June 2015
Reviewed by Emma Stubbs
Writing a review for Stewart Lee’s latest tour is no easy task. For one thing the current show, A Room with a Stew, is in essence a preview of the next series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, as he fine tunes the routines to an acerbic knife edge. As such there’s no overarching storyline or narrative to the night, as might be expected from some of his other live events. Rather there are a number of discrete sections, including Islamaphobia, national identity and urine, all with their own internal monologues and audience bashing, which will slot neatly into the thirty minute time frame of his TV programme.
The show itself is as much a dismantling of the audience as it is a series of tales and gags, as Lee berates and chastises for the way the reaction to his jokes don’t always go the way he plans, but it is always enjoyable, and we left the show with tired and aching faces after a deeply enjoyable night. It’s true that his comedy won’t be to everybody’s taste. In Lee’s own words, the entire Guardian reading population of Bradford had filed into the theatre, and his comedy has always had a liberal slant to it. It’s not the type of show to turn up to because he has a name you recognise off the telly, but if you’ve got the time to dig through some of his older bits on YouTube, and like what you see, you won’t leave disappointed.
The venue, St. George’s Hall, is intimate without feeling overly cramped, and has enough comfortable bar space at the interval that it never felt crowded or rushed when enjoying a drink. All the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful, and everywhere was clean and well maintained. There’s ample parking nearby, with two multi-story car parks and, in the evening, the Jacob’s Well car park is very cheap and within walking distance.
Overall a great night, as long as you fit Stewart Lee’s demographic, which incidentally is nowhere near that of Alan Carr’s (probably not the best choice of show to be advertised with flyers after the show!).
Stewart Lee is currently on tour around the UK with A Room with a Stew, for more information or to book tickets visit www.stewartlee.co.uk.
St George’s Hall. Bridge St, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1JT | 01274 432000