Review of Tim Minchin live at The Royal Albert Hall with his orchestra on 29/04/11

The latest tour for the Australian comedian/songwriter sees a new addition to the set up.

Tim Minchin

This is Tim Minchin in his usual fully outspoken and funny way, but bigger, and louder. He sings his belief that arenas can ruin comedy, and this appears to be his solution to the problem.

Claiming that he always thought he at the very least deserved a full orchestra following him through life, he now has one, a 55 piece one. This makes The Royal Albert Hall perhaps the perfect venue to see this show.

Comedy is most of the time someone daring to take everyday issues past the line of social acceptance. You can relate to their matter of fact comments. Tim Minchin does this perfectly, right down to the point where you believe he may go all romantic, but instead sings 'If I didn't have you. I'd have somebody else'. His 'Lullaby' track starting sweetly, and then going into the frustrated thoughts of someone who cannot stop a baby crying. At one point just about every religion and nation is given the right to be offended, and then redeems himself with the use of clever trickery.

Let's not forget the pure talent on the stage though. His classical piano skills, the wit and skill put into the lyrics, and the thought that has gone into the entire show. Tim Minchin is after all the mastermind behind a West End version of Matilda. He can almost fill The Royal Albert Hall!

Everything from the well timed additions from the orchestra to his own attire are part of the plan. Prancing about the stage with bare feet, skinny jeans, a shirt and tails, and full eye make up all play their own part. Tim's facial expressions are key to the performance of his songs. The eyes say a lot for everyone, but with thick eyeliner you cannot fail to miss the expression, and the odd cheeky wink that offers the key to the joke.

Power is a hard thing to achieve, and yet he has an entire audience following him and taking note of his every move. I have never seen one person make 4500 people suddenly so nervous as when he pulls out a copy of The Koran. Where is he going with this? There is a point to his actions - what makes something sacred?

Turning the venue into a disco with an enormous glitter ball he comes out with the song 'If the pope owned a disco no-one would come because they don't allow gays there. Who would start the dancing?'. His idea of a guilty pleasure is knowing that the money he used to buy his glass of wine could have been used to buy a third world village a pump... But that's why he savours it.

Fans of Minchin will not be disappointed as the show contains both old and new material, which compliment each other perfectly. With his usual mixture of procrastination and song, this is an impressive show using intelligent and often ironic wit, never failing to surprise.

The DVD, which will be available later this year, was being filmed on the night too.

Laura Johnstone

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