15:53 02 November 2011
Show date: 13 October 2011
Location: MEN Arena, Manchester
Reviewed by Hayley Merrick
Peter Kay's hotly-tipped comeback show was supposed to be a few dates at the M.E.N. where he used to work as a steward.
However, such was the demand for tickets, the tour was extended - and kept being extended - to make it the biggest and fastest-selling live comedy act in history.
When tickets were first released, people clamoured for the chance to see the comedy legend live and in person and when the chance arose for me to go and see Peter, I couldn't say no.
Would he mention garlic bread? Was he going to slide on his knees towards the stage like an excitable five-year-old? All of these thoughts were running through my head as I waited for Kay with anticipation.
With no warm-up or supporting act, I was worried he could face a cold reception at first, but I needn't have bothered. As soon as he stepped on stage, I remembered exactly why he's so successful.
Kay welcomed the audience - as he must have done hundreds of times previously - with the same enthusiasm as if it'd been his first night on tour; tripping down the stairs as he bounded on stage.
We had discussions on the marvels of modern technology; Sky Plus, T'internet and teletexting alongside the usual stories centred around family life, with tales of his Nan's 'thigh pod' and the wonders of 'Face Tube'.
But as much as I enjoy Kay's scripted jokes and stories, it's always the impromptu tales and audience interaction that truly sets him apart from most other comedians.
He started the show by saying hello to the audience through the camera usually used to beam his image onto a screen behind him, focussing on members of the crowd and providing a hilarious on-the-spot commentary.
Mortifyingly for them, Kay happened to spot a family arriving late, zoomed in on them and shouted "Where've you been?!" and following them all the way to their seat, before carrying on with the show.
There were also a few welcome nods to his first live show Live at the Top of the Tower, explaining his love for Italian restaurants as they give him free garlic bread and counting out change in that unique Northern manner.
Whether it's been worth the seven year wait, is another matter.
The show is nothing groundbreaking and some of his stories do, at times, feel a little well rehearsed, but his return is warmly welcomed and the best thing is that you can always guarantee a laugh with Kay.
You know what you're getting and he's guaranteed to put a smile on your face; highly recommended with a great encore that got everyone in the sold-out crowd on their feet.
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