Unity Theatre 7th May 2005
By Chas Early and Richard Hurst
Eleven years ago one of America’s most biting stand-up comedians
died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 34. Though only really a cult
success in his lifetime, Bill Hicks has become ever more popular and worshipped
since his death, and is seen as the gold standard by which all other social-commentating
comedians must be measured. He has been sorely missed, but his popularity
has been resurrected by video and CD sales that massively outstrip that
sold during his life.
In this new one-man show Chas Early goes one step further, representing
Hicks as back from the dead and coming down from heaven to look upon the
world that he left behind. Needless to say, he doesn’t like what
Updating Hicks material ten years on doesn’t require that many
changes. There’s still a Bush in the White House, America is still
bombing the world, the corporations still have control of our minds and
drugs are still - frustratingly for Bill - illegal. In fact he sees the
only change for the better since his death as being the easy availability
of internet porn.
He rants against the use of 9/11 as an excuse for everything and liberals
who watch Michel Moore films in their GAP clothes and complain to their
friends about capitalism afterwards while drinking in Starbucks. He wonders
what the point was in all his work when nothing has really changed and
Coldplay and Dido are in the charts.
The thought of anyone trying to impersonate Hicks is enough to fill any
fan with dread, despite this Early manages to pull it off well. He bears
more than a striking resemblance to the comedian and has everything down
to a t - from his accent and stage presence to the way he holds a cigarette.
His social comment remains just as biting “It becomes easier to
ignore the warnings on cigarette packets when you’ve already died
of cancer”. Blink and you really could be watching Hicks.
As well as pulling off as good an impersonation of Hicks as had he been
still been with us, Early manages to comment on the myth of Hicks. Like
so many others would he have eventually got tired and sold-out had he
lived, like Princess Di he asks, “Was death my best career move?”
An original and hilarious show, it was a must for any Hicks fan.