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Russell Brand – Re:Birth | Live Review

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Russell Brand – Re:Birth | Live Review

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St. David’s Hall, Cardiff Wed 11 Nov

Russell Brand wants us to know that he is no longer a sexual pirate, a “fuckaneer”. Gone are the days of his heroin-fuelled philandering.  He has evolved beyond his carnal compulsions thanks to the birth of his first child, Mabel, though he does consider the bestowing of a baby girl on an infamous womaniser such as himself “a karmic kick in the bollocks.”

His current tour, which follows up the release of his new book, Recovery, in which he discusses how to live free from addictions, is called Re:birth. It promises to address the questions facing new parents: “What am I going to tell my daughter about conformity and responsibility? What happens if she grows up to be like me?”, but it goes much further.

Prior to him taking the stage, we are treated to an educational video from the 1950s about childbirth interspersed with derogatory media clips about Brand from the recent past. It not only serves as an interesting segue into the subject matter of the evening – fatherhood and the media’s role and impact on his life and career – but illustrates just how unimportant the latter is when put side by side with the former.

The sentiment that Brand opens with and continues to hammer home all night is that we are more than the consumer identities we are given. Every person is an individual and is born equal. Everything else that follows is just “made up”, even countries apparently – there’s a French dinosaur joke to back this up that lands perfectly.

Before the show the comedian arranged for voluntary surveys to be completed by the attendees about their proudest and most embarrassing sexual moments and their funniest experience with their child. Part way through the first half of the evening Brand turned the house lights on and sought out the audience members with particularly giggle-worthy anecdotes, which went down a storm, despite a few technical hitches and the fact that it carried on for what seemed like a meanderingly long time. It did have a point though.

Just like when he asked the crowd to cheer in response to certain questions to illustrate how statistics do in fact reflect the demographics in pretty much any room, the surveys were an hysterical reminder that deep down we’re all weirdos with unique experiences and that should be celebrated, and apparently shared with thousands of others on Facebook live.

Brand’s pace was unrelenting throughout, with the exception of a brief bout of breathlessness thanks to excessive prancing, and he is as brutal in his criticism of himself as he is of the modern media and politicians. He candidly reflected on a long line of self-inflicted clusterfucks and was all the more endearing for it.  A captivatingly chaotic insight into his psyche.

The Re:Birth tour continues until the end of the year and picks up again in February, when Brand will return to St. David’s Hall on the 27th. He will also stop off again in Wales in the spring, calling at Swansea Grand Theatre on March 20th and Venue Cymru in Llandudno on April 4th.

words Laura Elizabeth Johnson

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