Wokingham Today

Bill Bailey: what larks!

So popular, he’s coming back again, comic Bill Bailey can’t wait to perform at The Hexagon in May. He tells PHIL CREIGHTON why


BILL BAILEY needs little introducti­on. The comic has been a regular on our screens in shows such as QI, Black Books and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, but there’s more to him than that.

In May he’s returning to The Hexagon in Reading to present his latest show, Larks In Transit.

He’s booked in for two dates and they come hot on the heels of three sellout dates earlier this month.

The show is a compendium of travellers’ tales and the general shenanigan­s of 20 years as a travelling comedian.

And Bill can’t wait to come back. “I love The Hexagon. It is very, very conducive to comedy. It’s a great venue and I always have great fun there,” he says.

“You’re very close to the audience and you get a decent number of people.

“I like to interact with the audience and get banter going back and forth.

It’s very important to hear everyone’s responses as it contribute­s to the rhythm of the show.

“Every night in The Hexagon has been very good.”

Bill admits he does feel there’s an onus on him to perform: “The expectatio­n does ramp up each time, I constantly feel that pressure.”

But the key for him seems to be preparatio­n.

He writes a lot, he’s constantly changing it to keep up to date and he also attempts to keep some of the show loose, admitting there will be sections where there’s no scripts.

“I want to enjoy it. I don’t want the pressure to squeeze the joy out of it. I want to have fun.

“I build open-ended sections in the show where I don’t quite know where they’ll go, there’s some risks to that, and some nights can be colder as people haven’t responded.

“But I always prepare for a show in small venues and boil down to the stuff I Iike.”

While creating a show, Bill likes to get away from his desk to get his creative juices flowing.

“When I’m writing, I like to go on my bike, my paddle board or a walk just to get the blood pumping and enhance the creative process. It can clear the log jam of thoughts in your head,” he says.

It’s been 10 years this year since his seminal show Remarkable Guide To

The Orchestra. In it he fused comedy with his love of music to create an entertaini­ng and educationa­l show. Would he like to recreate the lightning?

“I’d love to revisit that type of show,” he says. “But I’d look at contempora­ry music and how music has changed a lot since the 1960s in instrument­ation, artists and subject matter. In the 60s songs were in major keys and now they’re in minor keys. Were we too naive in the 60s?”

Later this year, you’ll see him on screen alongside Idris Elba in a new

Sky comedy drama In The Long Term, loosely based on Elba’s childhood growing up in the East End in the 1980s.

Bill explains: “It’s based on his experience­s and the characters are drawn from his life. He plays Walter, based on his Dad and I play his upstairs neighbour.

“It’s a warm, authentic comedy drama. I was very impressed with Idris, he’s a terrific actor and he’s very good at comedy as well.

“While it doesn’t shy away from the racism of the time, it’s not an issue-based drama, it’s about a community trying to get on.”

He said: “I’ll think you’ll enjoy it. It will be different to anything you’ve seen me do on telly and it’s a familyfrie­ndly show too.”

Bill Bailey: Larks In Transit will be at The Hexagon in Reading on Monday, May 28 and Tuesday, May 29 at 8pm. Tickets cost £29.50 each. For more details, log on to www. readingart­s.com or call 0118 960 6060.

 ?? Picture: Andy Hollingwor­th ?? Bill Bailey and a rabbit, just in time for Easter
Picture: Andy Hollingwor­th Bill Bailey and a rabbit, just in time for Easter

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