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Al Murray: ‘The Only Way is Epic’ Review

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Mar 18th, 2013.

Traditionally seen as a night to relax and prepare for the week ahead, it’s arguable that a Sunday night is a peculiar choice for a comedy gig.

This however wasn’t the case at the William Aston Hall last weekend, with hundreds of comedy fans choosing to liven up the usual Sunday night routine by choosing to spend the evening with one of the UK’s top comics, Al Murray. With Queen classics blasting out of the stereo and Wrexham lager available on tap, it was clear from the outset that the sold out venue was in for a good night.

Al Murray’s most recent stand up show, ‘The Only Way is Epic’ is a political look at the failings of the world today; with the problems of the British government both past and present, the Eurozone crisis and bankers all tackled in a clever and witty manner. Drunkenly staggering onto the stage with a trademark pint and a diamante ‘EPIC’ written across his belt, Al Murray wasted no time in delving into two hours of fantastic comedy. Of course, as it was the night after Wales triumphed in the rugby, it seemed quite fitting when the comedian congratulated all the ‘Welshies’ on their brilliant performance the previous day. This was quickly followed with his observation of how we had of course triumphed in a sport that is of English origin.

Claiming he is in Wrexham to serve the purpose as an ‘inspirational speaker as our leaders have let us down’, ‘The Only Way is Epic’ began it’s journey into a world of politics, economics and pop up tents. In theory such a political approach to a comedy show might seem as though as it could come across as heavy handed, but to quote the phrase of the evening “It’s much more complicated than that”.  Instead Al Murray tackles these subjects in a skillful way only he knows how; with his Britishness and landlord approach providing the platform for a highly amusing and intricate comedy show.

One of the highlights of the act is his arguments for ‘The Worst Government’ ever, with Murray listing all the prime ministers from the current Coalition right back to Winston Churchill. As the comedian worked his way through the past governments and their leaders, Murray listed their low points as to why they were the ‘Worst Government Ever’, before concluding that the last good prime minister that the UK had was the legendary Winston Churchill.

No topical stone is left unturned in Al Murray’s attempt to save the youth of today from their fifteen minutes of fame and the world from itself. Everything from the problems caused by reality television, Fifty Shades of Grey to the now infamous Essex Vajazzle are covered in the comedians attempt to right the wrongs of the country today. Stating that one of the main problems in the UK today is that “Adults think they’re kids, and kids think they’re adults”, the comedian embarks on a plan to ensure that parents make sure their children never enter a reality singing contest.

The show contained all the gems that the pub landlord is famous for. The traditional British pride ran throughout, with the comedian commenting on the Britishness of the names within the audience and their jobs. Possibly Al Murray’s most well known quote: “A pint for the men, a glass of wine for the ladies” resulted in him giving a £20 note to a man in the audience, before sending him off to buy a glass of white wine for his partner.

One of the highlights of the show was this level of audience participation, with the comedian clearly enjoying the conversation and words of wisdom that Wrexham had to offer. With a large amount of the first section of the show consisting of audience banter, Al Murray took great pleasure in discussing the roles of house husbands, IT technicians, nurses and finely ‘cravated’ men with members of the audience.

Ending on a series of riddles, one of the best parts of the performance is the comedian’s attempts to tackle one of the biggest riddles known to mankind; the pop up tent. Inviting someone from the audience onstage to act as his glamorous assistant, Al Murray attempts to somehow fold a Union Jack tent. Of course reading the instructions proved that the tent is in fact a doddle to put away, but ending on a riddle about man, the pub landlord proved that everything in fact, is much more complicated than that.

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