Review: Josie Long at the Brighton Dome

Josie Long
Josie Long

Josie Long and Brighton are a great match and both seemed very happy to see each other at the Dome on Saturday (February 11).

The likeable comic’s latest show Something Better is intensely political and chock-full of concerns over Brexit, criticism of the Conservative Government and her fears for the future.

Unsurprisingly, it all played well to a fair-sized crowd on a Saturday night in the People’s Republic of Brighton and Hove, the fifth most pro-Remain city in the UK.

The show was her biggest to date and she seemed genuinely thrilled to be there, and said as much on numerous occasions.

From the ‘awkward pre-show karaoke’, which involved Josie playing a song (from her mobile phone) into a microphone, singing along, deconstructing the lyrics and intermittently shouting “This isn’t the show”, it was clear she was giving it plenty and pleased to be in BN1.

It’s difficult to dislike Josie Long, but for a different audience it wouldn’t be entirely impossible.

She’s a talented, charming and charismatic comic, her heart is clearly in the right place and, in her own words: wants us “act on the side of humanity”.

But by her own admission she’s very very earnest and doesn’t only wear her politics on her sleeve but drapes them from the ceiling in the form of large socialist-style banners.

Her routine is full of conviction and honesty, but to an auditorium full of less sympathetic pair of ears, could come across as a ‘ranting hippy’ (again in her own words).

However, the set is mostly sharp, including an extended riff on the wisdom of To Kill a Mockingbird, a discussion on the small number of personality types she associates with, and the unconsidered horrors of a zombie apocalypse.

There’s also a fair amount of political observation, interspersed with engaging, personal and optimistic material., It’s not a million miles from the pre-Millenium Billy Bragg, in the days when the Bard of Barking battered you with pop and politics but left you feeling that things could be better if we all made a bit more effort to be nice to each other.

She also tackled the idea of being an Ivory Tower-dwelling (albeit rented) member of the liberal elite, and said that she was shocked to hear only 10 per cent of the population thought of themselves as being left wing - she said she thought it was 85 per cent!

Despite all of her worries and sadness, including the realisation that the Daily Mail will outlive her, she insisted she would get over the emnity and be joyful

She also sounded a clarion call for the disaffected to do the same, and to take small steps to tackle injustice and improve society.

As the, largely grinning, audience shuffled out of the Dome, with the sound of Josie giving it some post-gig karaoke Take That (“This is the end of gig go home - Never forget where you’re coming from!”) we were left with the impression that she does want the best for us all.