Review: Russell Brand @ Hammersmith Apollo



The Messiah Complex is intelligent and witty.

By Christine Dorisamy-Pillai

Russell Brand continued his first-ever stand up world tour at the Hammersmith Apollo on Thursday.

The show, entitled ‘Messiah Complex’, is largely based on Brand looking at some revolutionary figures and considering their high and low points.

In an interview earlier the same day, the Essex born comedian, actor and presenter said: “This is the first time I worked really hard on a stand up show.”

There are some parts of a show that clearly took a lot of time, effort and research to create. Brand makes some excellent and indeed thought provoking points during the routine backed up with quotes from some great philosophers and scientists such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Einstein.

He in fact warns the audience at the beginning that the show is ‘clever,’ and true enough, there are certain references that would be lost on someone that is not up to date on current affairs or is lacking in the knowledge of worldly events in recent history.

This is all delivered using the wonderful range of vocabulary which Brand has always been famous for.

Although some very serious topics like the rise of corporatism and the importance of collective responsibility are contemplated, the comedy itself is very funny and Brand does more than enough to keep the audience entertained for the most part of the show.

Anyone who is familiar with Brand’s work will know that he not adverse to humour that borders on the crass. If you are easily offended then you probably won’t be a fan. This show has a liberal sprinkling of said crassness which I normally would appreciate. However, in this particular show, I felt that perhaps it was somewhat misplaced.

For the most part, the show is intelligent and witty and I enjoyed listening to Brand’s musings on politics and religion in addition to his own quirky anecdotes.

All the talk about spirituality and morality which is absorbing and even at some points inspirational is invalidated slightly by the boorish chat in the last few minutes. In any other Russell Brand routine this sort of talk would have slotted in fine but here it just doesn’t really work. The show could easily have ended on a much higher point.

Russell Brand has been talking a lot about political change and social consciousness in the media recently, which is mirrored in this show.

He delivers a brilliant, hilarious and largely well thought out performance which will leave fans wondering in which direction Brand is heading to next with his comedy.

Photo courtesy of estenh, with thanks.

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