There are not many comedians out there who I would make a big effort to see, but Adam Hills is one of them. I hadn’t heard he was in London and only discovered he was when I was looking for tickets to see Much Ado about nothing at the famous Regents Park Open Air theatre.
It turns out that they have random comedy nights, random by both the comedians themselves and the timings, throughout the season but not so random as to all being completely sold out. Not surprising really, as at £14 for an evening out it’s very reasonable.
Adam Hills was on the bill for one of those nights and well I wanted to go, the last time I had seen him was even before his famous “Go you Big Red Fire Engine” shows at the Exeter in Rundle street.
The Man Himself...
After a bit of research, some stalking of Adam’s own website, and a little help from Mother Nature on the day, I was able to go. Turns out they sell the grassy bits on the sides of the seats only on the day, and only if the weather is going to be reasonable, as the shows all go on rain or shine. Lady luck was still on my side that day, and my mad (and turns out unnecessary) dash down to Regents Park on the Sunday afternoon, yielded me with 2 seated tickets, as some kind person had done a return. We had in the end great seats right in the front centre section. He was very funny, lots of fun with the crowd and he is so very down to earth.
The Stage (see note)
One of the funniest bits was when he talked about hosting the Beijing Paralympics, because of his prosthetic leg. He said normally he goes through metal detectors and doesn’t say anything, beeps, goes back tells security about his leg and they all apologetically embarrassed, as if he is retarded, wave him through. This time he went through in Beijing and for a change when the beeper went off said, oh yes I have a prosthetic leg, the security guard smiled and responded with a big smile, “yes ok, you go through”, he was puzzled by this and thought the guy has misheard him, but again he got the same response “yes ok, you go through”. Then it clicked for him, doh, he is at the Paralympics, almost every person in the queue would have had a prosthetic limb of some description, so he thought to himself, great everyone in the queue is now thinking “come on princess, moving right along, your not so special here you know!!”.
The crowd above ...
He was also quiet sobering and there were some down to earth moments, where at one point he was performing as if he had his own son with him (he has no children) and telling him about the world, giving him a bit of Dad advice, a “Dad moment”.
In this part he talked about one of his super bubbly friends who had died and how he remembered the good times of being out dancing with her with bunny ears on. Later at a party to celebrate her life after she had died, he felt a bit down after having left the party, but people kept passing him in the street, despite his long sad face, to smiling and laugh, as if to cheer him up. He didn’t understand why it was, until he realised that at the party he had been, and was still wearing a pair of bunny ears in her memory.
It cheered him immensely and the moral of his story was, in my words not his, “you’re a wonderful person – an inflator (he said) - if you inflate people while you are alive, but you’re even more a wonderful person if you can do this even when your not there anymore”. He said this of his friend because even though she was no longer around just the thought of her (and the ears) cheered him up.
View before the show..
It was a nice ending, and he himself is an inflator, and not because he gave out lovely round purple balloons at the end of the show, but because he wasn’t afraid to share such a personal story with all of us. I found that so memorable an experience, even a month after seeing him I can easily recall his show. I cannot wait to see him again.
Note - The theatre its self, well as they declare in the “about us” section of their website – “The theatre is the only permanent professional outdoor theatre in Britain . Its steeply raked auditorium is one of the largest in London with 1240 seats, yet those who attend say it is one of the most intimate”. Having now been there myself, I can says its pretty much true, it feels very small and like you are a part of the performance.