Stephen Bailey: Nation’s Sweetheart at G Live’s Bellerby Studio in Guildford – review

Comedian Stephen Bailey

Comedian Stephen Bailey - Credit: Archant

In the first of an occasional new series of Surrey nightlife reviews, Guildford Fringe supremo Nick Wyschna shines a spotlight on comedian Stephen Bailey’s latest tour, Nation’s Sweetheart

What? Stephen Bailey: Nation’s Sweetheart

Where? The Bellerby Studio at G Live, Guildford.

When? Saturday April 1

Verdict? 5/5

REVIEW: Stephen Bailey is a born improviser. There is a title to his show, Nation’s Sweetheart, but to be honest it could work under any name as I am sure it changes every night depending on who is shouting out.

The crowd felt like a handpicked audience of Stephen’s friends (although, of course, it wasn’t). They immediately warmed to his camp and theatrical humour, which very often crossed the line – but that just made them love him more!

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The evening started with a warm up act... Stephen! As a self-confessed waffler, he has “no need for a warm up act.” It was just a Brucie Bonus to have more time with Stephen, to be honest.

Although the opening half of the show was halted briefly by part of the building falling in (!) the show, in true showbiz form, went on. He was literally bringing the house down!

After a short interval we were back in the Bellerby Studio for the main hour long show, which flew by. Nation’s Sweetheart tackles the subject of conversation in a world where social media has become the main medium for interaction.

Stephen tells numerous stories about his parents, who have been married for 36 years and have clearly mastered the art of love and communication between one another. We hear, for example, of when Stephen was singing Beyonce’s If I Were A Boy in the shower and his dad shouted back ‘if only’ - clearly a raconteur! But, in all seriousness, from all the stories of family, one thing came through and that was acceptance, love and appreciation of each other.

From seeing Stephen on the club circuit a few times I was wondering how different he would be in his solo show. The answer is not at all, which is good news. He is personable and relatable which, in my opinion, makes a good comic. There is no falseness to his act and I believe watching him on stage would be very similar to having a beer (or WKD Blue) with him in a bar. This is the kind of act I want to watch: no air of superiority, just him being himself and being naturally hilarious.

Another thing I loved about the evening is that Stephen made a point of engaging the audience not only during the show but also in the interval and after the show at the bar. He spoke to everyone! So, not only a superb showman but also a great businessman. He knows this tour is building his fan base for future, bigger tours and he needs to meet everyone. Good on him, he deserves every success.

In short, Stephen is one of life’s natural comedians. No ‘set’ is needed, give him a room with some people in it and he’ll turn it into a comedy club. A pleasure to watch.


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