I am not equipped to review Stewart Lee and do not want to.
I am one of the many who belive he is the finest stand-up performing today.
Many others don’t. It is all subjective.
That is not the purpose of this post. If you want to read a review of this gig, there is one here: West Briton
In our opinion this was not a benign spirit. Benign by definition has two meanings. Gentle and kind or, in a medical context, not harmful in effect.
This person invaded the stage during the middle of a routine, totally destroying the flow, the routine was never completed. When after 15 minutes the person was escorted from the stage Stewart admitted defeat and wrapped up. We never got the ending to a 30 minute routine so felt cheated.
That notwithstanding, this was very amusing to a point, but when the reality set in I felt very uncomfortable. At first it seemed a drunken idiot had invaded the stage. Then it seemed like it was someone with learning difficulties, being mocked by Stewart and the audience. As we walked back to our car later some other audience members were chatting, convinced this was part of the act.
We do not know Adrian, if that is actually his name. We only know that he interrupted a gig and effectively wrecked it for us. For others he made the gig.
We are sure though that he should have been stopped from getting onto the stage. Security was totally missing for what is just under a thousand seater venue.
When he was there, we could see one guy at the side of the stage not knowing what to do.
When, after 15 minutes, he was escorted from the stage, they let him back in via the side entrance at which point he appeared to head for the stage again. he certainly went past his own seat and started to head back down the stairs again, before being escorted back to his seat by an usher.
These days, if someone shouts something at a football match or invades the pitch, they get a lifetime ban. Yet in comedy, heckling and bad behaviour is rewarded.
The UK Comedy Guild has guidelines for promoters code of conduct. UKComedyGuild
We have seen so many gigs ruined by bad behaviour, and rarely do we see a venue do anything about it.
Some key points being:
“5. No performer or staff member should be put in a position where they don’t feel safe”
“12. Performers and audiences have a right to enjoy a performance that is not interrupted continually or aggressively. Promoters & producers are responsible for policing and, where necessary, having members of the audience who are excessively drunk, disruptive or repeatedly abusive, removed.”
“13. Heckling should be discouraged. There are several ways in which this can be enforced: signs around the venue and on the website, an announcement before the show starts, gentle warnings during the show and in extreme cases, ejection from the venue.”
For us this performance was ruined and we expect a refund, for others, it will have been enhanced.
Fortunately for us we will see the full routine when Stewart’s new series of Comedy Vehicle comes out later in the year. Unfortunately over £40 was wasted along with 3 hours travelling time.