What a week it has been! A week so full it’s worthy of two blog posts, both involving some important men in my life.
Let’s begin with the first significant man, Russell Brand. (You can read about the second one here.)
Monday marked my 6th time seeing this splendid chap. Don’t judge, I’m not some obsessed groupie or lovestruck stalker (honestly I’m not!) waiting to be noticed in a crowd of millions. I just happen to attend a lot of comedy gigs, enjoy a good laugh and my mind being stretched, and find a good Russell Brand viewing satisfies this!
I’ve spoken before about how almost perfect the accessible seating layout is at Theatre Royal Norwich. That almost all the seats in row k are removable, being reserved and taken out when wheelchair users book tickets. Seated just under midway back in the stalls I also have a great view. This simple yet thoughtful seating arrangement also allows for me to sit with more than one friend/PA, and to sit with other wheel using friends. I’m sure as an able bodied person you wouldn’t even consider the prospect of being told you can’t sit amongst family or friends (unless the show is a sell out and you grab the remaining couple of tickets) but this is something that happens to me more often than not. ‘Sorry, wheelchair users are only allowed one friend’.
Anyway enough moaning, Theatre Royal Norwich is fab, let’s get to the fun stuff!
Wheeling down towards our row my sister pointed out that on every seat (or in my case gap in which I will park) was a cookie. A Hare Krishna cookie. A gift from Russell, what a welcoming gesture!
The auditorium went dark and the show erupted with a stream of media headlines bearing Russell’s name interspersed with detailed illustrations of childbirth, this film montage opening has become a bit of trademark for Russell Brand and I must say I was expecting it. The familiarity immediately made me comfortable, the warmth of reuniting with an old friend. That friend you can rely on to put you at ease at the same time as excite you with the juiciest gossip.
Russell has landed! You can literally feel his presence in the room, the audience are enrapt.
I love a show that involves a bit of audience participation, a little banter. That is of course as long as I’m not the participant! It’s ok I wasn’t picked on, some silly fools that responded to Russell’s survey (all ticket holders received one by email) baring their most embarrassing life moments were the centre of attention in the first half. Norwich, I don’t know whether to be ashamed or proud of you, but I do know that I was left a little disgusted! Russell’s message to us all, we are much more complex and oddball than statistics and ‘the system’ would have us believe.
I didn’t escape entirely, and am I glad I didn’t! After calling for an interval Russell just ‘hung around’ climbing off the stage and chatting to individuals in the audience. (I know Russell, is there such a thing as an individual or are we all just interconnected as one being….). Me, being stuck on row k and unable to meander around the stalls noticed Russell headed my way, climbing over rows of seats! Upon reaching me Russell asked if I’d noticed him trying to make his way over to say hi. After the usual pleasantries of hi’s and how are you’s Russell pointed to my phone suggesting he take a snap of us. Of course he can! Fourteen selfies and some dodgy facial expressions (on both parts) later Russell preceded to ask how I was doing in life.
This was my second face to face encounter with Mr Brand, I’ve met a few celebrities, I don’t mean to brag, it wasn’t all by choice, having wheels seems to attract attention, I admit sometimes I use this to my advantage, there has to be perks somewhere! But sometimes it draws the wrong kind of attention, like creepy animal mascots and Disney characters! I digress, Russell is one of the most human celebrities I’ve met.
The photo my friend took of this discussion may look like he was hypnotising me, and he could have been I guess! But conversation was sincere and relaxed. Russell Brand is a genuine gent.
Wishing each other a good evening he continued on to some more fans/stalkers, wow some of these people are totally terrifying, harassing the poor guy. He is just one of us you know?!
I don’t want to give away too much of the tours content, in case you have your tickets ready to attend one of the upcoming dates.
The show aptly titled Re:Birth focuses on the birth (in graphic detail!) of Russell’s first child, what it means for him to become a father, and the world he has to bring Mabel into. All too aware of the ridiculousness of his fame and fortune, yet a self confessed narcissist, there’s something very honest about Russell Brand. Full of eccentricity, charisma and intelligence, likened to a Dickensian Willy Wonka, he relives stories to us of absurd situations he gets himself into. His eagerness to please, always saying ‘yes’ before thinking things through. Russell is the first person to pick himself and his actions to pieces.
I know Russell Brand can be a bit like Marmite, people seem to either love or hate him, there is no in between. But if you get the chance I highly recommend you give one of his live shows a go. What can you loose? And you might get a cookie! I managed to turn my PA that evening, originally a hater now a lover!
He is so much better live than he could ever come across on television, you need to feel the atmosphere.
I don’t work for Russell Brand. Honest.
Oh and by the way, that Hare Krishna cookie was tasty!
Photo credits: Amy, Lucy and Russell