Last night we saw Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra at the O2 in Dublin. It’s a fabulous venue, holds about 12000 people. The show was impressive in its scope and it was clear that what Bill was trying to do would be a fabulous show. Bill’s racing about from one side of the stage to the other and harsh segways from instrument to instrument however made it seem less high energy and more just high disorganisation.
Breaking down familiar classical pieces to show us how each instrument is involved is a great and educational premise, but Bill seems to be almost scared to do more than just dip his toe in the water. As it gets interesting, he pulls back into the ridiculous – which is fun but not as deep as the audience can obviously appreciate. I’d hate to have seen what he’d have come up with if Anne Dudley wasn’t there to rain him in, but I fear she has given him too much latitude as it is.
Audience banter was a high-point of the evening, with Bill commenting on current events and clearly changing some small aspects of the show to take into account the local audience. Even with the lack of true direction it was a good night and despite getting completely drenched walking home in gale-force winds and ice-cold rain I really enjoyed it.