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The Hairy Bikers: Larger Than Live Tour – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Poppy Helm

[Rating:3.5]

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

 

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6 comments

  1. Silliness is OK when its funny, but it wasn’t! I agree the hairy bikers don’t need gimmicks. Unfortunately its one of those acts that doesn’t translate atall well from one medium of entertainment to another. Stick to TV and books lads. I should probably add that this review is based on the first half only. We left at the interval and went to the pub!

  2. We went to the Salford show last night . Having seen them before , we knew what to expect . I can understand why Kirstie left , but we enjoyed ourselves . The thing to remember is that they are not Comedians , which they themselves admit .
    It is always difficult going to see a Chef in a live situation ( anyone ever go and see the wonderful but inconsistent Keith Floyd ? ) .
    I have paid more than last night’s ticket price to see stand up Comics , and had less laughs . We will go again to see them .

  3. Saw same show at St David’s Hall Cardif and like Kirstie left at half -time. Purile, sometimes inaudible and a little bit embarrassing for us as most seemed to love it.
    Butlins 1970 humour.

  4. After returning to the Lowry Theatre in Manchester for a second year, I was left somewhat disappointed by the most recent tour performance. In addition to the endless dodgy face pulling into the camera, lethargic slapstick and panto type humour, their arrival on stage (why no bike?) takes place in what I can only describe as a relic from a show that a certain, now extremely infamous celebrity would’ve used on his TV show! Add that to the previously mentioned impromptu handling of the female guests and it all becomes an even more cringe inducing experience. I’m no prude but given that this show was next to the BBC, who also happen to employ the pair, it might have been better to tone it down a bit.

    Could they do better? of course, both guys are fantastic fun and have masses to offer, remove all the badly timed, “seemingly” accidental blunders, missed lines, stripping and flesh baring (once is a laugh….ish), cross dressing and escapology demonstrations, and put in some good factual, humorous and interesting bits from their travels, retain the cooking, and you’d be getting somewhere. Being a biker myself I’d love to see some reference to the biking part of their life and adventures, even a minimal bit, but alas nothing, not a murmur.

    Last years show was far better, but unfortunately I’m reluctant to try a third visit if they are on tour next year, and like previous contributors, I’ll probably stick to the TV version!

  5. I saw the Hairy Bikers at the Watford Colosseum last night. Normally, I am a big fan of theirs – love the tv shows and books.

    But this was utter bilge.

    The show is 3 hours long, but only 40 minutes of that was cooking. Which was delightful, I must say. They were relaxed, funny – their natural banter is a joy to witness. This is what we came to watch.

    But amateur stand-up, clumsy escapology, cringe-making stripping (yes, really) and pointless game show antics formed the majority of the evening.

    And we really didn’t come to spend our evening watching so much of their naked flesh flouncing around, even if they have lost weight.

    I was really disappointed. To the extent that I am airing my views on this forum – I have never felt the need to post anything like this before.

    For me, if the format had consisted of just the interesting film clips and the cooking it would have been a great night.

    I certainly won’t bother next time they are on tour.

  6. Well the wife and I saw them in Northampton last night … What a load of dross! complete waste of £50. The event was touted as showcasing their travels with dialogue, fun, and guests. More like they showed clips from the BBC, which we have already paid for, and a little bit of slap stick rubbish. Two bits of cooking, but at least Si enjoyed putting the napkin between a ladies chest!! I guess that set the town for the rest of the show. Whom ever came up with the idea of a ‘spin the wheel’ so they could take of some clothes should be shot! and if an audience member (me) asks a sensible question about Diabetes please do not shout back “Oi NumNuts” (para-phrasing). So disappointed and from what I have read may have really harmed their reputation. Sorry Si and Dave you chaps have really let yourselves down when we all know and love what you are capable off.