As a rule, I like my live shows to have some element of liveness about them. Michael Spicer’s has almost none. It’s the creator of The Room Next Door’s debut tour, and he clearly sees it as an opportunity to profit from the reams of online content he crafted before breakout success came his way, at last, en 2020. The show alternates between clips of his skits and stunts, commentary on his experience of going viral, and onstage re-enactments of his best-loved Room Next Door sketches – in which he plays a political adviser, wired into the earholes of Johnson, Patel, Trump et al, issuing desperate instructions as another foot-in-mouth public appearance unfolds.
Spicer does little to give these internet creations a three-dimensional lease of life. He’s no showman. Very dry as a host, he lays out his plans for the show matter-of-factly at the outset, and takes every opportunity thereafter to stifle artifice or surprise at birth. Y todavía, The Room Next Tour – that’s what it’s called – is a hoot. It may at times resemble one of those cheap TV clip compendiums, as he chuckles at archive footage reclaimed from the internet’s wilder shores. But the footage is undeniably chucklesome, as Jon Pertwee offers bewildering road safety advice to 70s children, or a prize pooch at a dog show stops halfway round the obstacle course for a poo.
Is that sophisticated? No lo es. Pero, curated by Spicer, and with droll narration in the latter case from his out-of-his-depth voiceover-artist alter ego Daniel Smeeth, it’s very amusing. It also neatly offsets the Room Next Door skits, which rely heavily on Spicer’s mounting exasperation as another politician blithers off-message. De vez en cuando, his editing feels like a sneaky trick to make our rulers more witless or hapless than they are. They scarcely need the assistance, as most of the clips – of coughing Theresa May, rabbit-in-headlights Hancock, un-sweating Prince Andrew – abundantly demonstrate.
One might wish that Spicer had been bolder in transposing his act into the live arena. Maybe that’s for the next tour? Esta noche, it’s about his greatest online hits so far – and most of them are bangers.