Al Murray brings his hilarious, bigoted alter-ego to the stage: The Only Way Is Epic is the Pub Landlord’s announcement that he is going to give you an inspirational speech. Rather counter-intuitively, in a whirlwind of satire, mockery and swearwords, Murray delivers a fantastic performance which will have you far too busy rolling around on the floor cackling to get up and sort out the world.
Murray’s characterisation of the Pub Landlord creates such a dominant stage presence that he will immediately have your laughter at his command. If you are in the front row or two, this will be mildly terrifying: you may well get splashed by his lolling pint glass and he will almost definitely pick on you. The Pub Landlord mocks pretty much everyone, but he will be forgiven at the drop of a hat because he’s just too funny. His facial expressions, his ability to remember everyone’s names and bring them back up half an hour later to be the butt of his next joke, his scathing voice of superiority – everything is wildly entertaining. Murray is playing a role in a brilliant way which evades the possibility of truly offending anyone and cleverly makes the humour of his show three dimensional.
Moreover, no audience member is ever asked to really contribute anything; Murray carries this show completely by himself and he certainly does not need to source his wit from anywhere else. The Only Way Is Epic keeps wonderfully in vogue as he discusses the euro crisis, the wasted youth of today and the debate surrounding Scottish independence. He insults everything, concedes nothing and throws his catchphrase ‘It’s much more complicated than that!’ around whilst pulling pints messily from his on-stage tap for emphasis. In essence, Murray is master of his enormous audience in McEwan Hall and the atmosphere is quite something to be a part of.
There are moments when spectators previously unfamiliar with the Pub Landlord might be a bit less quick to laugh and there’s the odd joke with an easily predictable punchline, but generally The Only Way Is Epic is a storm. Murray’s charisma drives a hurricane that will leave you absolutely buzzing.