Little Britain Lives!
Contractual Obligation Blog
[tag]Values Australia[/tag] was lucky enough to be invited to attend a recent performance of [tag]Little Britain Live[/tag] , at the cost of agreeing to review the performance.
Like [tag]The Office[/tag] and [tag]Extras[/tag] it could never be said that [tag]Little Britain[/tag] was easy viewing. Frankly, it is cringeful, to be watched through the fingers.
And yet we laugh uproariously. We love it. We love to see the pompous and the pretentious get their just desserts. Not to mention the losers and the whingers.
Observing the audience through the evening’s performance it occured to Values Australia that the entire evening could have been over in ten minutes with the audience still utterly satisfied. Their greatest, raucous delight came instantly from the recognition before their very eyes and ears, in the (often copious) flesh, of the characters that they have come to know and love.
“No but yeah but or summing or nuffing”
“Computer says no…”
“I’m the only gay in the village!”
“eh eh ehhhh”
“I’m a ladee.”
“I want that one!”
“Look into my eyes; don’t look around the eyes.”
“It’s a right kerfuffle!!”
“I want bitty.”
STAMPING ON FLOOR
HOUSE LIGHTS UP
Ten minutes, allowing for costume changes and Dr Who’s laconic scene setters and we can all be home in time for dinner. They could do five shows a night and make even more millions of dollars.
So what is this Little Britain?
We know Big Britain is a pompous ass, full of its self-importance, arrogant, condescending, humourless.
Or at least it was, for the Little Britain we see is a Britain that has passed, a Britain of the legends and myths, and more likely rumours, of Walliams’ and Lucas’ childhoods. A Britain Britons desperately cling to in the midst of their confusion with the terrifying present.
It is a world peopled by mannish women and girly boys; the ineffectual, the irresponsible, the unreasonable, the intolerant, the arrogant, the self-pitying, the self-obsessed, the terminally onanistic or solipsistic. Strangely, though, none are stupid and all are users, existentially needy, grasping and manipulative.
Ours is a mad world, a confusing world, a fundamentally absurd world in which we try to make rational choices based on the phantoms of imagined realities, of ideas which flash past and are gone before we have had a chance to discern what they really might have been. And so we anchor ourselves to stable myths and cling tightly to comfortable prejudices in order to quell our anxiety. And just as we begin to learn to breathe in this new, more predictable world, along come Lucas and Walliams to vaporise our illusions, leaving us exposed and laughing hysterically.
Little Britain is a sleezy peepshow through the moth-eaten curtains of our cultural pretensions whereby we glimpse the squalid, squirming, slimy, writhing horror of a reality we deny. It is a vision through a crack in the fabric of space-time into the X-ray world of an Ed Wood horror movie where people’s fleshy outer selves are burnt away, leaving only their clicking skeletons. “In the midst of life we are in death,” and yet Little Britain is ultimately an act of life and love.
Strangely, although the characters [tag]Matt Lucas[/tag] plays can seem the most obviously warped and twisted, it is the disarmingly conventional-looking and comfortably woolly “Walliams” who carries the deeper sense of imminent danger, just as happy to trip you into the acid bath of his humour as to walk insouciantly past.
And what is the attraction of the stage show? It’s not the jokes. We’ve heard them all before. Again and again. There are no surprises here. Precisely. That is the point. It is the recognition of love gained through a painful challenge borne and met, like the first chinese burn your primary school girlfriend gave you, when you proved you were brave enough to be her champion and her lover, to sit with her at recess and carry her books home from school.
You can view Little Britain clips here.