Performer: Frank Skinner
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool
Date: Thursday August 5 2021
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 16+
Normally, I would go straight into discussing the show, but here I’m making an exception. That’s because this performance was the very first show at the Empire Theatre for 17 months. Of course, the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic is widespread across the globe in so many ways. But the live entertainment industry has been particularly hit hard, with theatres especially suffering from having its doors locked shut. And despite the periods of 25% or 50% attendances for certain shows, sometimes this is less helpful than having no audience. This is especially grating when seeing other industries continue on without spectators for financial benefit.
At last, though, the theatres can once again operate at 100% capacity. And the Empire Theatre would open its doors for this special performance. I use the word “special” because that’s the vibe I would get from being in attendance. Indeed, the banners welcoming audiences back would be a nice touch. But of course safety remains paramount, with hand sanitisers throughout the building, and the option to still wear masks. Even better, the staff would efficiently and effortlessly carry out Covid vaccine pass checks upon attendance. This is thoroughly reassuring for those expressing concern about the increasing necessity for Covid passes in the months to come. So, the Empire Theatre should be proud of its efforts in adapting to changes while also returning us to normality. Let’s be frank (no pun intended), though: the best news of all is that the Empire Theatre is finally back!
Gareth Richards would serve as the warm-up act here. And his first words would sum up the mood by simply saying “we’re out! We survived!” He would detail his own experiences through the pandemic, both through intriguing tales and some interactive musical numbers. One, in particular, would focus on a “disappointed towel” by virtue of online shopping gone wrong. Then, it was time for the main man himself, Frank Skinner, who would receive a huge ovation. And his mannerisms as he would enter the stage suggest someone expressing tremendous delight in returning to the stage. Furthermore, he would mention the honour he would feel at being the act to reopen this famous venue.
Aside from this, his show would spotlight his personal experiences with celebrity culture. These would range from his interactions with various famous figures to his adaptations to life as a showbiz star. And this would include how there are times when being recognised has both its pros and cons. But he would also discuss aspects of his personal life, in particular his 21-year relationship with his partner Cath. And he would also pick up on changes in society over the years, ranging from dance moves to home security. All the way, the audience would be in raptures, with seemingly every story topping the previous one.
Frank really is a master of his art. He is someone that is quick on his feet and can adapt to any situation at any time. And this adds a unique layer to every one of his performances during his current tour. For instance. he would regularly interact with specific members of the audience on the front row. And he would often link back to people as he would integrate them into his life stories. This would only enhance the entertainment value with Mark, Matty and others influencing his next one-liners. And because a comedian never knows what a spectator may think, it creates an exciting sense of unpredictability. But regardless of who he talks to, the end result remains him finding a way to garner even bigger laughs. Furthermore, the Liverpool location would provide sufficient material that was relatable and acceptable (e.g. the Unesco/World Heritage Site controversy).
But even better was the skeleton of his routine: his priceless stories covering various avenues and generations. I’m not going to put spoilers here, but needless to say that virtually every single joke got huge laughs. And some would have the audience almost wiping away tears for the sheer hilarity of these authentic scenarios. Frank’s delivery is also a key trait because he speaks softly, almost dead-pan when retelling these side-splitting anecdotes. Add to that his range of facial expressions and some occasional dance moves, and the package is essentially complete. Indeed, there would be a ton of jokes for attendees to retell their family and friends in the aftermath. And when you’re spoilt for choice on options for doing this, you know that it’s been a fantastic show.
If you ever get to see Frank Skinner live, I absolutely encourage you to do so. Because he has been one of Britain’s most beloved comedians for many years, and he remains as hilarious as ever today. This show particularly has so many rib-tickling tales that it would be a crime not to watch his show. And we would also end on a high with Frank reminding us of the Empire reopening. “May it remain open forever”, he would say. And that’s the ideal way to end this recap of a flawless show from a timeless performer.
Target Audience: 16+
Content: Frequent Strong Language, Some Sex References
Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect
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