Russell Howard at the Metro Radio Arena review
Russell Howard – Round the World
Metro Radio Arena on Friday 24th March 2017
Critically acclaimed “Comedy Superstar” (Time Out), one of the best-selling acts in British stand-up, and host of the smash hit TV show Russell Howard’s Good News, Russell Howard returns to the live stage for the first time in three years with his biggest global tour to date – Round The World.
We grabbed our seats and prepared ourselves for the night ahead, stocking up on drinks and snacks for the gig. The warm up act was the fantastic Steve Williams, he got the crowd going with his funny routines about accents, attempting a Geordie one with glee. Amusing both the crowd and himself as he veered dangerously into West Indian and even Scottish randomly at times by accident. He had a warm and welcoming style which embraced the audience, and it worked the arena well, this hilarious Welshman’s take on the world is infectious and he took the crowd with him on his whimsical journey. With the punters now all geed up it was time for a brief drinks interlude before the main event.
Russell stormed out to pumping music and burst onto the huge arena stage. He got the crowd shouting as he waxed lyrically about the Newcastle audiences and his love for performing in the north east. He delighted at the accent like Steve had, with a little more success in his attempts.
“While I love intimate gigs the thing is you can’t do this in a comedy club!” he said as he reached for the sky and an array of ear popping bangs and pyrotechnics rained down on him from above. The crowd whooped in excitement as he tried desperately to contain his glee with what he had just done. He jumped straight into it with a barrage of gags getting the audience laughing in the aisles.
“Perennially popular… sanguine hyperactive stand-up – with a healthy dollop of schoolyard puerility.” Warren Howard, The Independent
He filled the stage with his boundless energy and stamina, it was a great experience to see a comedy gig on such a scale made to feel both personal and intimate but also epic and grandiose with the 10,000+ crowd hanging on every breath. This was Russell at his very best.
“Howard’s success is down to the way his comic outlook strikes a chord… He’s not afraid to be silly and gently whimsical but he never disappears up his own arse. And his attitude is always sunnily optimistic, taking delight in the daft little details of his life.” James Kettle, The Guardian
As we’ve come to expect from Russel Howard he covered everything from the serious to the senseless, the profound to the profane, emotional to apathetic. He weaves an amazing story with ease, bringing things back inline after rants, distractions and meandering trains of thought with artfully interwoven running gags. He had the audience in the palm of his hand and it was a delight to watch.
“Howard has become one of the most successful stand-ups of his generation.” Ross Jones, The Telegraph
Russell covered topics from ISIS to incontinence, family to famine, self-harm to self obsession with consummate ease, taking the crowd with him despite the darker and more serious elements involved. He certainly does not play it safe and you can tell he genuinely cares about these issues but always makes sure to carefully balance the poignant and the playful. His self-deprecating humour help with hilarious anecdotes like the time he finally snapped at an endless entourage of train passengers repeatedly taking a photo of him without asking, only to then find out he was standing next to a Pokemon!
Russell hit the spot with his brand of political, self-deprecating and ultimately hopefully heart warming comedy. We give anyone thinking of attending the show our top recommendation, 5* must see.