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A whole seven years have passed since comedian Peter Kay last toured with his stand-up routine, so it was good to see him finally out on the road again with his 'The Tour That didn't Tour - Tour'. I didn't go to see him perform on this tour, but when I heard there would be some filming taking place during his performances for a new dvd, I was looking forward to its release but also had a couple of reservations about it.
The reason for this being that Peter Kay, although a very funny man, has had a habit of 'milking' his work somewhat over recent years. I loved his 'Phoenix Nights' series which I first saw on TV a number of years back and bought the series on VHS at the time. I then bought his first two stand-up tour dvds and thoroughly enjoyed them. However, the next dvd to appear was of Peter Kay live at Manchester Arena and I immediately bought a copy only to be disappointed and quite angry to find that this was basically the same as his previous 'Live at Bolton Albert Halls' dvd. I was fooled by the packaging which informed that it was the farewell performance of his 'Mum Wants a Bungalow' Tour and thought it was new material. Myself and many others were taken in by this and felt we had been cheated. Why release two dvd's from the same tour?
Peter Kay went down in my estimations after this and indeed I read many stories of him milking his merchandise via books and dvds that weren't offering anything new. Despite him being a very funny man, I wondered if he had no new ideas. Therefore I was curious to see what this new tour would contain a few years on and whether I would be making another mistake by buying this new dvd.
~~~The Tour That Didn't Tour~~~
Filmed at the O2 Arena, Peter plays to a sell-out crowd here and I sat down to watch it not knowing what to expect, but hoping it would show the Bolton funny man back to his best with some new material.
Peter arrives on stage and takes a camera from one of the camera men and begins filming the audience whilst indulging in some banter with them. It was amusing to watch, but something that would be a lot funnier if you were actually there I thought. He then goes on to crack a few jokes to warm up the audience, just as he did on the previous tours and it seems to work. The audience are relaxed and laughing and Peter then launches into his routine, a mixture of banter and observations on life today and also how it was years ago.
What makes Peter Kay funny, is that he tells of things we can all relate to. For example in his earlier tours he recalled taping the Top 40 from the charts on Radio 1 on a Sunday evening when he was younger and trying to end the recording of a song before the presenter began talking. This was something people of a certain age like myself can totally relate to and Peter successfully tapped into recounting how things were in his youth and making comparisons today in a very funny way. By including his family he portrayed scenarios that so many people can relate to and find humour in.
Here on this new dvd, Peter Kay once more entertains us with tales of himself and his family, whilst observing 'the way things used to be' and how it is today and once more I found myself crying with laughter as do the audience.
Speaking of the audience, there are a number of occasions where the camera turns to the audience who are often helpless with laughter or pointing to each other as Peter identifies and talks about something which rings true with many.
I have read that some people weren't happy with the inclusion of the audience shots, but I don't have a problem with this myself. Indeed it simply highlights how Peter Kay tells of things we all can relate to and see in each other.
There is a particularly funny discussion about using SKY+, which I won't spoil for you by revealing any of it, but it is something I could totally relate to and found hilarious.
There are references to his older material and he again touches upon his nan in her warden controlled flat, but it is new material. He does also mention garlic bread, cheescake and taxis again, which those of you who are familiar with his earlier stand-up routines will recall they featured there, but this isn't re-hashing the old stuff, it is just both a clever and amusing mention in part of a new tale.
From diets starting on a Monday, to Sunday night baths, there is plenty here to amuse and I had a smile on my face from start to finish, as well as a few bouts of helpless laughter.
I also enjoyed the ending featuring a shovel, which again I won't spoil but it had me laughing.
The show has been edited and the dvd runs for 1 hour and 22 minutes with no extras. I personally would have preferred to see the entire show and whilst I see the need for editing at times, I can never quite understand why segments of a performance are taken out.
I know that many have complained who went to see this tour, that one of the funniest parts of the performance is where Peter plays music on his Walkman and pauses to quote misheard song lyrics, has been omitted from this dvd.
As I didn't go to the tour this isn't something I am personally annoyed about as I have never seen it, but I can relate totally with how those who saw the show feel about this. There is nothing worse than going to a show which you know is being filmed for a dvd and then finding out that your favourite part of the show has been omitted from the dvd.
As I mentioned, there are no extras on this dvd and again I can't say this is something which personally bothers me, but again some may feel disappointed.
Overall, I have to rate Peter Kay The Tour That Didn't Tour dvd 5 stars, as it saw me helpless with laughter and therefore I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and am glad I bought it. The audience seem to have really enjoyed the show and it was nice to see Dawn French laughing along in the audience too.
This is a review of the dvd, it is also available on Blu-Ray.
It's good to see Peter Kay "back on nights" like he says at the start.
Peter Kay has not done himself many favours by disappearing from the stand-up circuit for such a long time. Admittedly he has had commercial, if not critical, success with his bizarre Northern Irish warbler, Geraldine. However, stand-up is easily what he does best and the weight of expectation resting on his return has snowballed into a considerable welter. So it was with no small amount of curiosity that I unclicked his latest DVD from its case. This was recorded on the final night of 15 day 'residency' at the O2 Arena. Has the wait been worth it? Well, I think so, albeit with a few reservations. His protracted absence has seen other excellent talent, such as Michael Mcintyre, shoe-horning their way into the void, which has seen Kay recede out of sight and, almost, out of mind. As a result, the once, peerless Peter has had to try and wrestle back his crown as king of observational humour. TTTDTT brilliantly exemplifies Kay's nail-on-the-head accuracy in this sphere, along with his effortless rapport with the audience often at the expense of his Irish mum and extended family members such as Nan and Uncle Knobhead!
The feature begins with PK playing cameraman as he pans round the vast arena alighting on cowering victims. Garish clothes are picked out for gentle ribbing along with a Jesus lookalike and rows of old folk, collectively labelled 'the old cocoon area'. One grinning chap is greeted with the rather ignominious line: "Look at them teeth...Mother o'God....Shergar!!!
He's then straight into the machine-gunned one-liners:
"A mate o' mine has just been sacked off t' dodgems.........he's doin' 'em for funfair dismissal!"
"I ordered a pizza last night. I asked for a thin, crusty supreme......they sent me Diana Ross."
More typical nuggets of this ilk are trundled out, as he gradually builds into his lengthier forays into personal experience and observation. The audience does seem a little muted at first and it seems a bit of a challenge to warm them up. This may be because it's a London audience and the frigidity is temporarily tangible. However we do not have to wait long to de-frost the icier facades as Peter casts an illuminating beam on subjects as diverse as Skyplus, the British stiff upper lip, Baileys, wire coat-hangers, and mobile phones. Kay's self-deprecating humour is never far away as he intones;
"Strap yourselves in for 20 minutes of comedy dragged over a 2 hour show."
Some of the stories sound vaguely familiar as variations on themes are slipped in. For instance we have the hilarious examples of Nan's disconnect with technology. The line about the Skyplus live pause facility is reprised as she worries about everyone else in the country being at the mercy of her remote control. Occasionally PK hits you with a sucker punch out of nowhere. This usually has you relating so much to the observation that it is spooky. For me, that time in this show is when he hilariously relays the panic that grips him when the Sky warning pops up about not being able to watch another programme while two others are being taped. His accelerated delivery is spot- on, as he perfectly conveys the instant confusion caused by its sudden appearance allied with the baffling 'cancel' and 'keep' options. Maybe it's just a male, multi-tasking thing! His verbal crescendo helps to heighten the sense of panic with Play your Cards Right-like shouts of "top or bottom, top or bottom!"
One of his longer observational forays centres on the art of throwing a sickie, and more specifically how to put on a sick voice. This is hilarious and is further enhanced by his idea of the perfect surrounding 'sickie-throwing'strategy. He talks about 'planting the seed' a day before the intended sick day - it draws far too much knowing laughter than is surely comfortable for the nation's employers! Familial warring over custody of the Sky Planner is another topic that seems to ring a familiar bell with most in the audience. Skyplus gets plenty of coverage here and it's not all bad publicity either. Kay lists it as being "up there with running water and daylight". However, apart from the aforementioned clashed recordings scenario he also has, hilariously-related, issues with the fast forward facility ("My life's on x30!")His technology jokes are not always on Nan as Kay laments the passing of VHS and the ever changing formats out there. Look out for a particularly funny line about Star Wars!
This knowing connection is evidenced by periodic cuts to bent-double members of the audience convulsed with empathetic fits of laughter. I have always thought that Kay's strength is in his ability to observe small details that most of us connect with but rarely talk about. Many a time the camera alights on a member of the audience jabbing a knowing finger at their spouse/partner on matters ranging from deodorant avoidance to leaving peas in the microwave!
There are inevitably a few troughs amid the peaks, but I suppose this is inevitable given the breakneck speed that Kay hurtles along at. I never was too impressed with his 'garlic bread' observation, which I think has been overcooked - pardon the pun. This now seems to have been replaced by 'plasma' or, to be more phonetically accurate, 'PLAS-MA?!' Maybe it's just me, but I find this a bit crass and lazy compared to his erstwhile glaringly simple, but ingenious, insight.
Nevertheless, his take on certain TV programmes sees him back to form. Particular targets here include Grand Designs, Come Dine with Me and Embarrassing Bodies. The dread of a school reunion is recounted along with recollections of his classroom capers. Kay's energy is impressive throughout, as he darts around the stage like a manic televangelist.
Hardly Blue Peter!
Although a bit cheeky, with the odd expletive, the innuendo is seldom more edgy than Carry On. Compared to the anything goes, bare- knuckled deliveries of Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr, Kay very much adheres to the Queensbury Rules. When he does swear he tends to spit out the offending word very quickly, and invariably follows up with a, tongue in cheek(y), remorseful apology. Where the expletives are used they often qualify a sense of extreme annoyance or anger on behalf of the protagonist:
"Wife says to her husband 'You never take me anywhere expensive anymore'.
He says 'Get your coat on.'
She says 'Why, where are we going?'
'F****** petrol station!'
Although women suffer a fair bit of flak from Kay, he can hardly be branded sexist, as men come in for equal ridicule with observations about their hypochondria and quips such as:
'Man says to his wife, "Why don't you tell me when you orgasm"
She says; "I don't like ringing you at work."
And there's plenty more where that came from.
He seems to appeal to a wide demographic, particularly transcending all ages. This is possibly to do with the fact that he actually looks funny - in the nicest possible sense .In his own words he has previously likened himself to Rick Waller - he of X Factor infamy! He possesses a happy knack of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. For instance we don't really need to know that when his Nan fell, that it was outside Farm Foods. However, this supplementary information draws us in, making it seem as though we are party to a familial conversation. But Kay also recognizes the comedy value of incongruously inserting carefully chosen shop and brand names into his anecdotes. To me, there is something simultaneously distressing and hilarious about someone falling outside Farm Foods - maybe not when you read it here, but certainly so when it's delivered by Peter Kay! This visual cheeky chappie is also endearingly self-deprecating and relates to everyday, often humdrum, scenarios from which very few people would be exempt, regardless of social standing.
During the show we are given a demo of the boy Peter's penchant for re-enacting Queen classics in his mum's jazzacise leotard, strumming a shovel as a surrogate Stratocaster. The encore sees him bringing down the curtain with said air shovel, as he covers favourites such as Amarillo, 500 miles, Eye of the Tiger and We Are the Champions, to name but a few. I personally found this a little tiresome but, overall, the Bolton boy done good!
Region 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.
80 minutes approx
*This review is also posted on Ciao under username FLOCKOFSEAGULLS.