Friday, 30 May 2014

Review: Paul Hollywood - Get Your Bake On

You know what's fun? Spending an afternoon drinking a quantity of wine with your best mates and then spending the evening with Paul Hollywood.

Not like that. 

Though I imagine that would also be fun. Lots of fun... 

But I digress. Having spent an afternoon drinking wine and eating Indian street food on the South Bank, three of us headed off to the bright lights of Croydon to see Paul Hollywood's theatre tour, Get Your Bake On.  

The tour is essentially hardcore bakery porn masked as a series of demos: pie porn (apple pie), cake porn (black forest gateaux), enriched dough porn (couronne) and bread porn (multi-seed loaf, plus a freakishly quick eight strand plait). Man that's a lot of uses of the word porn in one sentence. The porn is supplemented by 'an audience with' style anecdotes, chat and the general cheekiness that you'd expect if you're familiar with Paul's solo shows plus some audience participation segments (complete with judging, obviously). 

The atmosphere is pretty relaxed. Phones don't have to be switched off, ostensibly so you can tweet questions throughout but actually used to take photos and videos, and despite the size of the venue and the intrusive-but-necessary onstage cameraman it feels pretty intimate too. 

Sound fun? That's because it is.

Of course the main thing that makes is fun is the man himself. For all the slightly laboured reminders of his northern working class roots, Paul is a fantastically engaging host. His anecdotes are fun and refreshingly unpretentious, his jokes about Mary Berry are just the right side of cruel and obviously his baking is fab. I think even the most experienced baker would've left on Saturday feeling that they'd learned something, I know I wish I'd taken some notes. Also, he's super hot in person and there are A LOT of lingering close ups on his hands for those of us who like that sort of thing. I refuse to believe it's just me. 

If you like merchandise - and I really like merchandise, especially when I've had like five glasses of wine - there is much for you here too. I bought the programme, which as well as being aesthetically pleasing tackles at least one very important question as you'll see below, and a t shirt because my friends are terrible enablers. 

Frankly, there's disappointingly little to criticise. I wasn't fussed by the audience participation stuff - in the time spent on that there could've been another of Paul's demos which I'd have rather seen than some random members of the public. And I think someone on the production team would do well to check out one of the Strictly pros' tours and incorporate a proper Q&A the way they all do. But those are tiny things though. Otherwise it's excellent. 

If you want to check the tour and its bakery porn out for yourself then it starts again in the autumn (dates on And if anyone who wishes to get into my good books for any reason happens to be reading this, I'd like to see it again. Just saying.

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