Reviewer: Poppy Helm
What’s special about Simon King and Dave Myers is that they are not chefs born and bred; both spent their early careers at the BBC working on the other side of the camera. A friendship born by chance and cemented through a shared passion for food and travel, The Hairy Bikers now have six books under their (not inconsiderable) belts and thousands of miles under their wheels.
The evening follows a novel format – somewhere between a family variety show and stand-up comedy, albeit a fairly diluted kid-friendly version. Inspired by their foodie adventures through Europe, the night kicks off with a series of short video clips from their TV series including a banquet of scorpion and snake and some very dubious swimwear (you’ll know when you see it). It won’t win any awards for cutting edge comedy but it’s good family fun – homegrown and comforting, just like their culinary creations.
Unsurprisingly, the evening’s highlights are when the Bikers get behind the stove – in the middle of each ‘act’, an industrial-look kitchen appears from the back of the stage in a haze of smoke and rock music with two lucky audience members invited up to dine. Here, the duo look instantly more relaxed, moving away from the script and concentrating on what they’re really good at – their trademark mix of no-nonsense cooking and affectionate banter. Close-ups are provided by long-suffering ‘Sid’ the cameraman, who circles round them capturing the action on the big screen – the closest we’ve gotten yet to true ‘smellovision’. Although the entertainment in between adds plenty of colour (from dancing and escapology to a wheel-of-fortune gameshow) the balance between silliness and education is tipped a little too much towards the former. In reality, this charismatic pair don’t need any gimmicks – give them a couple of pans and a stocked larder and we’d happily watch them all night.
Reviewed on 24th October 2012