sat 08/08/2020

Danny Baker, Touring review - boy, can he talk | reviews, news & interviews

Danny Baker, Touring review - boy, can he talk

Danny Baker, Touring review - boy, can he talk

Radio personality gives it the verbals

Danny Baker is not really a stand-up - more a one-man verbal onslaughtSteve Ullathorne

The first thing that greets the audience in the foyer for Danny Baker's new showGood Time Charlie's Back!, which I saw at Princes Hall in Aldershot, is the merchandise stall, selling various items; T-shirts for £20, programmes at £10 (pre-signed!), and mugs for £8. But despite this naked determination to relieve punters of their wads, no one can accuse Baker of not giving value for money, as the show last three hours, and counting. Boy, can this man talk.

On stage there is a large acreen, straddled by two smaller screens with what turns out to be a list of the subjects in his seemingly endless store of stories about his life and 40 years in the media and showbusiness. “Lizards!”, “Marc Bolan’s T-shirt!”, “The Burglary!” he does love an exclamation mark, does Baker  are just a few of the subject headings, some of which have only a tangential relation to a story.

Crikey, Baker has what south Londoners call a heavy dose of the verbals

Most of the stories will be familiar to anyone who has read the three volumes of Baker’s autobiography or who watched Cradle to Grave, the excellent sitcom the first book spawned, which covered his south London childhood as part of a close family; his dad worked on the docks and his mum loved music. Fans of his television and radio work will also be familiar with much that he talks about here, too.

This is essentially part two of his first live tour, From the Cradle to the Stage, which was intended to tell his complete life story but barely covered his childhood. So he’s back on the road with this show, and much of the first half of Good Time Charlie’s Back! is taken up with a recap – or repetition, if you will – of the first show’s material.

Despite Baker repeatedly telling us he’s going to “whizz through” this section, it's 90 minutes in before we reach a point where the last tour finished – when he wrote for the iconic punk magazine Sniffin' Glue, and then at the age of 21 he joined NME, nirvana for the keen and knowledgable music fan he was and still is, and where he met and interviewed people such as John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Ian Dury and Paul Weller. 

In the second half, he charts how he entered television and, not for the first time, says his success is as much due to luck as talent which, fine broadcaster that he is, is unduly modest.

Many of the stories are funny and often memorably phrased. Talking about having lots of friends at school, which he loved, he says wryly: “It was when I went to work on TV that I realised I wasn’t universally popular.”

But, crikey, Baker has what south Londoners call a heavy dose of the verbals. No detail is too small to be shared, and he keeps going off into unnecessary explanations and down memory lane, which frequently turns out to be a blind alley.

And there is a limit to how many slides of people that he uses to illustrate his anecdotes – of friends, family, celebrities – that we can see before boredom creeps in. Baker constantly walks across the stage and his presentational style is rapid – actually, it's non-stop talking – and the show needs some pacing, if only to give the punters a rest.

Despite the many fine stories here and the obvious warmth of Baker's personality, this is a show desperately in need of a director; running to at least three hours (plus a Q&A some nights), it's strictly one for the fans.

Many of the stories are funny and stories are often memorably phrased


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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Slightly unfair,methinks. 1) the first thing you see at any gig you go to is the Merch stall, to mention this seems a little churlish despite talking about VFM.. Btw every signed programme has a different message making each one unique. How many artists would do that ? 2) A lot of people wouldn't have seen the first tour and have come along because of the excellent reviews of the first tour 3) Anyone who has heard his radio shows will tell you what makes them special is the randomness,The blind alleys etc

Naked determination, if I had no clothes on I would sell nothing as no one would come near me. Lots of love and signed programmes.

I agree with Paul. A bit harsh, though it’s all about opinions. The thing about Danny is, he is who he is. He comes across on the radio and on stage as completely unrehearsed. To do that, but still constantly sell out his tours and pick up the awards he has, suggests a natural talent for story telling.

Okay, okay, you can't please all of the people all of the time. And this opinion is valid. But actually Danny's style has always appealed to me, maybe it's because I'm a SE Londoner, maybe not. But I'm excited to go to his show later this year as he is engaging, entertaining and really sells a story.

We live in an age of misery war and poverty. Baker makes you forget about what troubles may beset you and gives you above the waist fun He has the knack of making everyone feel comfortable and included A lot of entertainment is over produced and bland,it’s refreshing to have a few Mavericks and originals I’m proud to call this man a friend

Warm, funny and interesting- just like the books. It is long, for us it was about three and a half hours, but he captures a time perfectly with anecdotes and a sense of luck. Very much enjoyed it.

Brilliant evening entertainment, yep he can talk but he is a natural entertainer wonderful, loved his cradle to grave which he mentioned and looking forward to the next series just love the hockey charm. Bless him and all best wishes for him in the future

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