The live arena proves to be far from the small screen star’s forte
Back when Limmy was known rather quaintly as an ‘internet sensation’, he spoke of his dread at performing in front of a live audience. With an initial burst of west coast fame arriving with his World of Glasgow web series, Brian Limond had a distinct ambition. He wanted to work away on his online creativity, get a TV show and avoid the stage like the plague, having enjoyed his limited experience of live work not one iota.
Yet, here he is doing four nights at the Clyde Auditorium, that dread of seeing his crowd in the whites of their eyes clearly having dissipated. But what has also been removed is the sense of menace, paranoia and disconnect which he conjures up to wonderful effect on small screens (and which has continued on the page with Daft Wee Stories). The comedy which emerged through psychological and physical isolation is trickier to recreate in a space where the only screen on show is bigger than your house.
Limmy kicks off with some chatty banter about those seated in the dress circle who would have felt a surge of excitement at being bought a ticket for his show only to discover they’re not on ground level. The fact that there are a fair number of empty seats in the stalls for opening night rather dilutes the moment, but Limmy has his script and by christ, he’s going to stick to it.
The first half is a ragbag of scenes featuring familiar routines such as the ageing businessman believing he’s finally about to be brought to book for crimes that most likely exist in his head while Question Time descends into a violent hostage situation with a politician finding it impossible to answer ‘yes or no’. Less expected is the sight of a dozen members of the audience up on stage as the rest of us vote for the one who dances most like Tina Turner. That this parade of lunacy is probably the first section’s highlight says it all.
Part two opens with the promising hint that he’s kept his powder dry as a man in shitty pants (out of which a fake schlong dangles) stalks the arena, ranting about having been denied access to his kids. Then up on screen, a teeth-grinding stoner chats dementedly to a ‘regular’ bloke supping from a can. Hilarity actually ensues.
But then the biggest anticipation leads to huge disappointment as Limmy hands his best-loved characters scripts with little inspiration and even fewer jokes: Falconhoof attempts to appease a radge adventurer, Dee Dee deals with a toothbrush and Jacqueline McCafferty spills her tragic life story to Marti Pellow. None of which are bad ideas at their root but the delivery is uniformly pedestrian and lumbering.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with artists stretching themselves by moving into genres or formats they may not be accustomed to, there’s also a lot to be said for admitting defeat. Hopefully Limmy will pursue his craft in the more claustrophobic spheres where his work truly flies.
Reviewed at SECC. Run continues until Sun 31 Jan.