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Lenny Henry Live: So Much Things To Say Review

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by AVForums Nov 1, 2005 at 12:00 AM

    You've got to give credit to Lenny Henry - most young people today wouldn't know who he is or if they did it would probably be for Comic Relief - but people forget that he's been around a long time and he started out doing stand-up comedy back in 1975 so he knows what he's doing! I watched this DVD shortly after reviewing the most recent Peter Kay “Live at the Manchester Arena” DVD - all 47 minutes of it. Here the first thing that impressed me was that Lenny was up performing for 1 hour 51 minutes - I had criticised the Peter Kay DVD for it's lack of new material and poor value for money, the same can't be said for this show so one-up to Mr.Henry. On this disc, Lenny Henry performs at the Hackney Empire in London following his latest successful appearance on TV doing the “Lenny Henry Show”

    So Much Things To Say is Lenny Henry's first recorded stand-up show for eleven years but you wouldn't know it watching the man - he is so at ease in front of the audience. His ability to bridge both the age and racial gap is part of his appeal - you'd think the audience for this would be primarily black, but it is entirely mixed and this is credit to his humour. He was able to make fun of both black and white stereotypes because he had experienced them both - he can say things that most white comedians would steer clear of but he always looks for the humour in any situation, bringing the audience together. This show is not stand-up in it's purest form however - the first 30 minutes or so is, but after that it turns more into a one-man show as Henry acts out various characters. The second half of the show is entirely made up of Henry performing an intertwining role play between the various characters he introduced us to in the first half. You have to admire his mental dexterity and his ability to conjure up the feeling that these characters are actually present and at some points interacting with each other.

    Personally I enjoyed his pure stand-up better than the character based stuff and accurately observed as it was, I prefer Henry when he's spontaneously interacting with the audience and making quick one-liners rather than the monologues seen here. As I say, this is just my personal preference but if you think of this as more of a one-man show rather than a traditional stand-up event then you won't be disappointed.