Review: Russell Brand at Portsmouth Guildhall

Russell Brand
Russell Brand
The Portsmouth Tattoo Fest  is at The Pyramids on Saturday from 10.30am

WHAT’S ON: Your weekly guide to going out – Friday, April 20 until Thursday, April 26, 2018

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The best moment of Russell Brand’s gig at the Guildhall on Friday night was undoubtedly when he first walked on stage.

As he strutted out, dressed in a white blazer and skin-tight black trousers to the sound of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, the noise was deafening.

Messiah Complex, Brand’s new tour, keeps in line with the comedian’s well-publicised interest in politics, ideology and sex.

This time though, Brand focuses his comedy far more on advancing a particular argument.

He stood in front of posters of his heroes – Ghandi, Che Guevara, Malcolm X and Jesus – and said we need more people like them (not David Cameron) to encourage us to change our values.

The result, joke-wise, was hit and miss. The funnier moments were when Brand played on his own celebrity status, such as spending the first 15 minutes of the show with the crowd and giving cuddles.

Less successful was the more, as Brand put it: ‘clever stuff.’

His argument rests on the idea that there’s something intrinsically wrong with the world at the moment, but it was left undeveloped, so the idea feels hollow and unconvincing.

But his sincerity and determination to bring big ideas into stand up comedy was admirable. It will be exciting to see what he does next.