DVD Review: Sean Hughes Life Becomes Noises

As Sean Hughes ends the national tour of his latest show, ‘Penguins’, its predecessor ‘Life Becomes Noises’ gets a DVD release courtesy of stand-up comedy specialists, Go Faster Stripe.

‘Life Becomes Noises’ is replete with comic highlights, with some lovely audience interaction to boot.

The appearance of an empty hospital bed at the corner of the theatre must have made some of the audience wonder if they’d walked into the wrong show. Their fears are put to rest as Sean gallops across the stage dressed as a jockey - warming up the crowd with some Grand National related banter. By the time we get to the meat of his show, we trust him. Yes, this is about life and death, but we’re laughing.

For the next ninety minutes Sean explores his relationship with his father. It’s an honest, if entertaining appraisal, which avoids sentimentality in favour of tongue in cheek humour. Death itself is treated the same way. For example, Sean explains the stages of mourning- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – in a lovely little sketch about having run out of milk.

His obvious anger about the lack of a cancer cure provides the show’s only proper serious moment, “Facts about cancer: 1 in 4 people will die of cancer.” He then explains that the £500 million provided by business and government to find a cure hardly seems sufficient. It’s hard to disagree with him.

‘Life Becomes Noises’ is replete with comic highlights, with some lovely audience interaction to boot. A less impressive writer/performer might have alienated the audience by getting too engrossed in the material and effectively shutting the audience out; Sean avoids this, keeping the audience connection throughout.

The DVD itself is shot simply and effectively. Too many big budget stand-up releases rely on jaunty angles and harsh cuts – almost as if the camera operators want to keep reminding the viewer that they are there. Thankfully, it’s just Sean Hughes and his dad that are the focus here.

Indeed, everything about ‘Life Becomes Noises’ is right - the tone, the jokes and its message. Death is not rare, it’s universal, and this five star show will leave you yearning to seize the day with a smile on your face.


Sean’s appearance on Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre podcast is included. Richard Herring is of course brilliant, but at times he could do with letting his guest get a few more words in. I would have liked to hear Sean discus ‘Life Becomes Noises’ itself. There’s also a brief, but very funny clip of Sean trying to get into the changing room showers. “I gave them my measurements, when I was four.”

£12. Available from www.gofasterstripe.com

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