The Armstrong & Miller Show Live (2010)

armstrongmillershowWHAT: The Armstrong & Miller Show Live
WHERE: Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
WHEN: 29 September 2010

Do you have someone you can never think of what to get them? Christmas, birthdays, you’re at a loss. If they want something, they’ll get it themselves, which means you’re drawing a blank every time you ask them what they want. The Squeeze is like that. My clever workaround last Christmas was to get tickets to a comedy show, and it worked a treat! The only downside was that we had to wait over nine months to actually see the show.

Comedy duo Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller have amused us greatly on TV over the past few years, and the chance to see them live was one not to be missed.

The show started off with the two World War II pilots in parachutes over Nottingham (enter pot shots at our westerly neighbour, because however crap Nottingham is, at least it isn’t Derby). For those who aren’t familiar with the characters, we’re talking about two young Britons in the R.A.F. in the 1940s – except their vocabulary is surprisingly modern, as is their take on life in general. Makes me wonder if it’s a bit of social commentary and not just a bit of hilarious fun. What if today’s “yoof” were supposed to be fending off the Nazis? We’d all be speaking German, because it wouldn’t be their fault they bombed Chichester (which they only did because they have a disorder, yeah, and have a note and everything and they’re not even lying and all these accusations are like massively stressing them out).

They were the most recurring characters (yay!), and amongst others, we also saw the two ladies who make food – Miranda and Pru – in their latest venture was to set up a stall of organic food, which just meant they labelled it “organic” and put on a hefty pricetag. When being questioned about how organic their products were, it of course “kicked off” and cake was thrown all over the stalls. (We were in tier one, where no cake could reach.)

Dennis Lincoln-Park ruined a priceless statue, Doctor Tia believed he is dearly loved by the locals (who refer to him as “(click click click) unt”), the Northern Irish royal correspondent drove around on a mechanised sofa, Roger kept believing his wife isn’t shagging his best friend Peter (even though they were caught on Google Earth), and the kids TV presenters who got themselves into a right pickle and had to apologuise to their viewers in a very child-friendly way. It’s all the characters we know and love from the TV show, with some exceptions, such as no one was claiming to wearing his wife’s knickers, people explaining why they became teachers, the random facts businessman and the insensitive but very caring father. Some things wouldn’t work on stage, and others were limited by the fact that there were only three actors – Armstrong, Miller and a woman whose name I can’t remember. Which is ironic, as she came on complaining that she’s always over-looked and the men get all the cheers – and asked for the audience to really cheer her at the end. Which we did, quite happily.

There were plenty of music as well – I never realised they actually do play the piano for real! Brabbins and Fyffe were recurring characters, and their song about a big party (where “nobody died”) was very catchy. The two Neanderthals went from grunting and making shadows with their hands to being very eloquent. Jim put in an appearence and made a couple from the audience feel uncomfortable on stage by using them in a round of questions à la Mr & Mrs. The most uncomfortable audience member, however, was the poor lady who got into the dentist’s chair and heard how he gives medicine to his pet goat. Yummm.

Oh, yes, and there were pies too. Lots of pies.

The French resistance put in an appearance, speaking like she’s “diseased or some shit” – and when finding out it’s not because she’s diseased, but rather because she’s French, I have to love the retort that the character didn’t do French in school – but instead “did media studies”. Standard!

Yes, there were predictable things, and most of the pilot sketches we’d already seen on TV, but oh yes, there was something that was totally new: a delivery of a couple of coffins to a ladies’ Yoga class. Armstrong & Miller have joined the vampire bandwagon, poking fun at how Twilight is decidedly nothing to do with vampires. Haha, score! Like a while back, at lunch, where a colleague saw me reading it and said that he too was reading a Stephenie Meyer book, The Host, and he said “But it has no vampires”, to which I responded, “Neither has this – har har”.

Anyway, it was a really great show, very funny. Lots of laughs, and we’ll remember to all love each other in a non-sexual way. We was well amused, and we’re not even lying.

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