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REVIEW: Russell Brand returns home to Essex on Messiah Complex tour

PUBLISHED: 13:50 25 October 2013 | UPDATED: 13:50 25 October 2013

Russell Brand returned

Russell Brand returned "home" to Essex for the first of five shows at the Cliffs Pavilion Theatre.

Russell Brand once announced that his personality would not work without being a celebrity, and seeing him saunter on to a Southend stage you can understand why.

His presence in a room is as large as his reported Hollywood home, and is audible through the screams that erupt from an audience as he announces his arrival at the Cliff’s Pavilion Theatre last week with a single thrust of the crotch.

Though his star status remains sky high, Brand quickly announced that he could “relax” as he began the first of his five appearances in his native Essex.

His latest show, Messiah Complex, is a study of the obsession with the cult of celebrity – a topic he readily admits is a little hypocritical of him to focus on.

Introducing his four historical heroes, Gandhi, Che Guevara, Malcolm X and Jesus, Brand proceeds to rattle through personal accounts that prove to us just why he is comparable to each of them.

Brand energetically flits between stories of genital flashing to serious points about the globalisation of fast food chains, and back to describing the intricate details of a feline derrière.

He exudes charm, and becomes an instant man of the people when he walks on to stage equipped with a copy of the local rag and proceeds to spend the opening 10 minutes discussing his childhood in Essex.

He reveals his opening monologue was reserved only for the Southend crowd, his home turf, and proceeds to tell the unfortunate tale of how he once got punched in the face while waiting for a kebab on the seafront.

There was a sense of ownership in the crowd, as if each member of the audience could stake a claim in the local boy done good – though his mother, also in attendance, probably had more claim than most.

As is to be expected with Brand, some of his more extreme jokes were met with gasps – but always followed by guilty giggles.

From his entrance to Marilyn Manson’s Personal Jesus, to his exit – posed in the shape of a crucifix – Brand’s Messiah Complex was engaging, though provoking and above all else funny.

He returns to Southend for two nights in December, and a further two dates in March. For tickets, visit southendtheatres.org.uk.

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