I predict no such disappointment when it comes to Dandelion Mind, however. A brand new show
around the theme of doubt, this marks a return to his absolute best but also gives us a slightly
different Bailey to the one we have seen before. The bumbling roadie persona has a little more bite
this time, and Bailey’s real-world frustrations, anger even, are much more in evidence.
He’s clearly annoyed with the Lib Dems for apparently being so happy to jump into bed with the
Conservatives at the first whiff of power (“Nick Clegg, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight”
he sings), and – in a theme that has run through a lot of his shows – he is all too aware of Britain’s
capacity to be grey, dull, and generally a bit rubbish. In a particularly brilliant instance of Bailey
painting a vivid picture, he accurately describes the acute mortification we will all feel during the
London Olympic opening ceremony, when an inflatable Churchill comes floating down the Thames.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though – this is a celebration of doubt really, a licence to admit when
you’re just not that sure, and accept that’s a perfectly reasonable response to most things. This
means that the ultimate doubter, Thomas, is comprehensively rehabilitated in this show: is it not
more reasonable, Bailey asks, to have a few questions when your mate comes back to life, than
credulously shrug and go back to fishing?
There’s quite a bit of fun for fun’s sake too. For a good ten minutes, Bailey leads the audience in a
singalong version of California Dreaming, sung at various speeds to see whether we can keep up
with him on guitar. I can’t recall there being any reason for this, but it certainly was entertaining.
And then there’s Bailey’s supreme musicianship, of course, which sees him play Nirvana on the lute-
ish oud, and the instrumental from Gary Numan’s Cars on, suitably, car horns – something which is,
quite honestly, one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in a theatre.
Riffs that appear ad-libbed are actually carefully thought-out, and culminate in a brilliant short
video at the end of the show. I say this not to ruin the impression that Bailey’s superb digressions
are made up on the spot, but to praise what a tightly-written show this is, as well as beautifully
constructed, impressively performed – and above all, consistently laugh out loud funny.